South Africa employment visas

South Africa employment visas

Temporary Residency visas

Business visas qualifications for foreign entrepreneurs in South Africa

  1. Business Visa is suitable for foreigners that wish to i) start a business in South Africa or ii) invest in an existing business in the country. Requirements include:
    • Investment of a determined amount (around US$ 390,000) in either cash or in capital contribution. Although investors are not required to make the investment before visa application, they are required to get a certification by a Charter Accountant that the amount is available and is originated from abroad;
    • The capital requirement can be waived or reduced for certain industries. A request will have to be submitted to the government for review;
    • Commitment from the investor that his company will employ 60% of the total workforce from South Africa’s labour market. The company will have to present proof within the first 12 months of visa application;
    • Investors are required to submit a detailed business plan to the Department of trade and Industry for review. Once approved, the authorities will write a letter of recommendation attesting the feasibility of the business and its contribution to national interest;
    • A list of all of the additional requirements is available at the Department of Home Affairs’ website;
    • After living in South Africa for 5 years with a Business Visa, our Clients may apply for a Residency Visa.
  2. Work Visas: employers that wish to hire foreign workers or individuals that wish to work in South Africa may apply for one of the following work visa: i) general work visa; ii) critical skills work visa iii) intra-company transfer work visa and iv) corporate visa;
    • General work visa is advisable for South African employers that wish to hire foreign workers for vacancies that they have been unable to fulfil through local labour market;
    • Critical skills work is the only type of work visa that can be submitted either by South Africa employers or by foreign individuals that wish to look for a job in South Africa. A list of the critical skills and the acceptable qualifications is available at the South African Government’s website;
    • Multi-national companies with branches, sites, offices or subsidiaries in South Africa that wish to transfer foreign-based staff may apply for an Intra-company Work Transfer Visa. The employers must prove that the applicant has been an employee for a minimum of 6 months prior to application, and that they will leave the country after the visa expires;
    • Corporate visas are issued for corporations that wished to employ a predetermined number of foreign workers. The corporation must firstly apply for a corporate visa to secure a permission to hire the determined number of foreign workers, and thereafter issue corporate workers certificates for their foreign employees;
    • All of the above require the following documents i) passport valid for 30 days after the end of visa; ii) medical and radiology report; iii) police certificate of all countries that the applicant has lived for longer than 12 months and iv) proof of financial means. A list of the additional specific documents required by each visa is available at Department of Home Affairs’ website.

Comparison table work visas

SummaryGeneral Work VisaCritical Skills Work VisaIntra-company Work TransferCorporate Visa/Corporate Workers Visa
Maximum validity of visa5 years5 years4 years3 years
RenewableYesYesNoYes
Employment contract necessary at application?YesNo for individual applicantsYesYes
Employment contract necessary within the first year after visa approval?NAYesNANA
Multiple employees can be hired under one application?NoNoNoYes
Proof that vacancy was advertised prior to visa application necessaryYesNoNoYes
Can apply for dependent pass for spouse/kidsYesYesYesYes
Can apply for Resident Visa after 5 years?YesYesNoYes

Temporary Visas

  • Foreigners that wish to travel to South Africa for tourism or business purpose for a period of 90 days or less may apply for a South African Visitor’s visa;
  • Clients are required to present the following documents i) passport valid for at least 30 days of the expiry of the intended visa and with at least two blank page, ii) proof of financial means iii) yellow fever card (if applicable) and iv) onward and return ticket;
  • A list of nationalities exempt from visa application can be found at the Department of Home Affairs’ website.

Contact us

For additional information on our employment visa and migration services in South Africa, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Paavan Chhabra, directly:
client relationship officer - Paavan