South Africa employment visas in 2024

Temporary Residency visas

Business visas qualifications for foreign entrepreneurs in South Africa

  1. Business Visa is suitable for foreigners who wish to i) engage in South Africa company formation 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 the amount may not be invested before application submission, a certification by a Charter Accountant that the amount is available must be provided;
    • The capital requirement can be waived or reduced for certain industries. A request will have to be submitted to the government for review;
    • Commitment that the investor’s company will employ 60% of the total workforce from South Africa’s labour market. Proof must be provided within the 12 months from visa application approval;
    • 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

Summary General Work Visa Critical Skills Work Visa Intra-company Work Transfer Corporate Visa/Corporate Workers Visa
Maximum validity of visa 5 years 5 years 4 years 3 years
Renewable Yes Yes No Yes
Employment contract necessary at application? Yes No for individual applicants Yes Yes
Employment contract necessary within the first year after visa approval? NA Yes NA NA
Multiple employees can be hired under one application? No No No Yes
Proof that vacancy was advertised prior to visa application necessary Yes No No Yes
Can apply for dependent pass for spouse/kids Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can apply for Resident Visa after 5 years? Yes Yes No Yes

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 contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Kunal Fabiani, directly:
client relationship officer - Kunal