TEMPORARY WORK VISAS, PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMITS, NATURALISATION AND CITIZENSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA
There are several types of Work Visas in South Africa which are:
CRITICAL SKILLS WORK VISA IN SOUTH AFRICA
This is a permit issued to applicants in possession of exceptional skills or qualifications that are scarce in South Africa. A critical skills work visa shall be issued for a period not exceeding five years. Where there is no offer of employment, a critical skills visa shall be issued for a period not exceeding one year. A spouse and dependent children of a holder of a critical skills work visa shall be issued with an appropriate visa valid for a period not exceeding the period of validity of the applicant’s critical skills work visa.
The foreign Applicant must persuade the DHA that he or she has the necessary skills and/or qualifications befitting a critical skills occupation enumerated in the Critical Skills List published in the South African Government Gazette on 4 June 2014. All foreign qualifications must be evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (“SAQA”) and must register with the SAQA-Accredited Professional Body, representing the specific occupational category which the Applicant purports to comply with.
INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFER WORK VISA
Occasionally, multinational companies may decide to transfer an existing employee from a foreign branch to South Africa. These employees must apply for intra-company transfer work visas. This is a work visa which allows and enables foreign companies to transfer their employees from a branch of the company based outside of South Africa, to a branch of the company within South Africa. This work visa can also be applied for by individuals who are employees of sister companies or companies with a shared interest. The visa allows the employee to relocate to South Africa and undertake employment for a certain period of time and only for the specified employer. A spouse and dependent children of a holder of an Intra-company Transfer work visa shall be issued with an appropriate visa valid for a period not exceeding the period of validity of the applicant’s Intra-company Transfer work visa.
The foreign Applicant must demonstrate that he or she has been employed by a foreign corporate entity for at least six months and that the foreign employer will be transferring the Applicant to its South African branches subsidiary or “affiliate” (that is, a corporate entity in association with the foreign employer).
An application for this work visa cannot be made in South Africa under any circumstances unless the foreigner has a two-year visa to its maximum of four years or renewal.
CORPORATE WORK PERMIT
This permit can be applied for by organisations or companies that have a need to recruit a number of foreign staff over a set period of time. Obtaining a corporate work visa is hugely beneficial to an organisation. It not only reduces costs, but also speeds up the work visa application process. The individuals applying ‘under’ the corporate visa do not have to provide for many of the requirements normally associated with a work visa.
GENERAL WORK VISA
This is a visa which is issued to an individual who does not meet the criteria of any of the above work visas. According to the South African Immigration Act, the applicant for a General Work visa has to provide a conditional offer of employment from a South African based employer. In addition, the applicant has to provide documentation confirming that the employer has fully endeavored to employ South African citizens or residents.
This visa is based on an offer of employment from a South African prospective employer. The employer must apply to the Department of Labour (“DOL”) for a certification which will confirm to the Department of Home Affairs “(DHA”) directly confirmation of whether suitably qualified South African candidates does not exist for the position and that the foreign Applicant possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the offered position.
Once the DOL has concluded its mandate and conveyed to the DHA its certification (either positive or negative) the Applicant will then file the work visa application.
The Immigration Act enables a foreigner to apply for a business visa for a maximum duration of three years (extendable) on the basis of a foreign direct investment into a prospective business enterprise, or in an existing one, on the basis of a R5 million investment. The capital requirements above may be reduced or waived in respect of some types of industries/businesses. An applicant needs to submit the following:
- A certificate issued by a chartered accountant registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to the effect that you have:
- At least an amount in cash to be invested in the Republic as determined from time to time by the Minister, after consultation with the Minister of Trade and Industry or
- At least an amount in cash and a capital contribution as determined from time to time by the Minister, is available.
- An undertaking by the applicant that atleast 60% of the total staff complement to be employed in the operations shall be South African Citizens or permanent residents, permanently employed in various positions.
- An undertaking to register with:
- The South African Revenue Service
- Unemployment Insurance Fund
- Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries
- Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission, where legally required and
- Relevant professional body, board or council recognized by SAQA, where applicable.
- A police clearance certificate from each country where you resided since the age of 18 years, including the Republic of South Africa
A letter of recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry regarding
- the feasibility of the business
- and the contribution to the national interest of the Republic.
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have travelled or intend travelling through a yellow fever endemic area Medical and radiology reports.
Study visas are issued to minor foreign children attending primary and high school as well as adults studying at tertiary educational institutions in South Africa. If you are a foreign student and wish to study in South Africa you can apply for a study visa by applying for at VFS Centre across the country near the educational institution you will be studying at or at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad. Study visas for studies at a learning institution shall be issued for the duration of course registered for.
These visas are issued on the following basis:
- A letter of provisional acceptance or acceptance from the learning institution stating the duration of the course must be submitted.
- The learning institution must be registered in terms of specific South Africa legislation enumerated in the Immigration Regulations, otherwise the learning institution will be unsatisfactory to support a study visa application.
- The study visa is issued for the duration of the course of intended study.
The Immigration Act provides for two specific types of temporary residence visas which a foreign “spouse” of a South African person may apply for. The term “spouse” includes civil marriages as well as life-partnerships (which must be at least two years old at the time the application is made). The two types of spousal visas are:
(i) Relative visa
This visa is issued for a fixed two-year period, extendable. It requires a South African spouse to demonstrate the availability of at least R8, 500.00 to support the foreigner over the two-year period. This visa does not enable the foreigner to take up any form of work in South Africa. But with our expertise, we assist spouses to South African citizens to apply and have their Relative visas endorsed and take up employment.
(ii) Visitor Visa (Section 11.6)
This visa is issued for up to three years at a time, extendable. The Applicant can apply for any type of business, work or study authorization on this visa without having to comply with the normal application requirements stipulated in the Immigration Act for those temporary residence visas.
The South Africa spouse does not need to demonstrate the ability to financially support the foreigner.
DEPENDENT CHILDREN AND FAMILY RELATIVES
Dependent children and immediate family members can apply for a Relative’s visa to join the main applicant in South Africa. This visa can be endorsed for study purposes at any primary, secondary and tertiary education centre.
Exchange Visas may be issued to foreigners who are not older than 25 years of age and wish to participate in cultural, economic or social exchange programmes administered by an organ of the State or a public higher educational institution in conjunction with an organ of a foreign state. Applications must be made at any nearest Vfs Global submission centre or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.
The validity period of an exchange permit depends on the length of the programme for which it is issued and usually does not exceed 12 months. Exchange permits cannot be renewed or extended. If you require an exchange visa in order to take part in a programme administered or organized by a learning institution in South Africa in conjunction with a learning institution/organ of a foreign state (Section 22(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002), please contact us.
RETIRED PERSON VISA
The Immigration Act enables a foreign person to apply for a retired person visa for up to four years on condition that the foreigner demonstrates that he or she is entitled to a pensions or irrevocable annuities for the rest of his or her life from the country of his or her origin, or from assets he or she may own, realizing no less than R37, 000.00 per month.
The retired person visa holder may apply to the DHA for permission to conduct work on such a visa, and such authorisation is granted at the discretion of the DHA.
This visa is the most suitable visa for Diplomats in South Africa who have worked and resided in South African for a considerable number of years and at the end of their deployment term, one would like to remain in the Republic where he or she has already settled with the family and continue with his or her livelihood without being interrupted by relocating back to their countries of origin.
MEDICAL TREATMENT VISA
Medical Treatment visas may be issued for a maximum period of six months at a time to any foreign national who wishes to come to South Africa and receive medical attention.
To apply for a medical treatment visa, an applicant must provide the following documentation:
- A duly completed BI-1738 application form
- A passport with at least 1 free page for a visa.
- The passport must be valid for 30 days after end of the intended visit
- Payment of the prescribed fee.
- Proof of financial means to cover your day to day expenses as well as those of persons accompanying you (the medical permit holder), if any, in the form of: bank statements, cash available, or travellers’ cheques.
- A letter from your medical practitioner or a medical institution, indicating the reasons/ necessity for treatment, the period of treatment and particulars of the treatment plans in the Republic of South Africa.
- Details of the person or institution responsible for your medical expenses and hospital fees.
- Should your medical scheme or employer not be liable for expenses incurred, proof of financial means or medical cover must be submitted.
- Proof of sufficient financial means or provision for the costs indirectly related to the treatment.
- Particulars of persons accompanying you.
- A copy of a return or onward air ticket.
- A vaccination certificate, if required by law.
Kindly note that the Department may request a cash deposit equivalent to the value of an air ticket to the country of your origin or residence if you don’t hold a return ticket for your travelling back.
The Immigration Act provides for 9 specific permanent residence categories. These are:
- A demonstration of having been in possession of work visas (besides intra-company transfer work visas) for the past five years, without any gaps of time, with a permanent job offer secured in South Africa.
- On the basis of a spousal relationship which is at least five years old, whether by way of marriage or life-partnership.
- For a child under the age of 21 of a citizen or permanent resident.
- Child of any age of a citizen.
- On the basis of a demonstration that the foreigner has one of the critical skills enumerated on the Critical Skills List published in the Government Gazette on 4 June 2014 (and as amended), with at least five years of post-qualification experience (not necessarily related to the critical skills).
- On the basis of an intended investment or investment in a business enterprise or prospective business enterprise of no less than R5 million, or a lesser amount as agreed by the DHA should the business enterprise fall within one of the prescribed National Interest sectors of the South African economy.
- On the basis that a foreigner with refugee status in South Africa for at least the past five years obtains a certification from the Refugee Standing Committee that he or she will remain a refugee indefinitely.
- On the basis of pensions or irrevocable annuities for the rest of his or her life, or on the basis of assets realizing to the foreigner, no less than R37, 000.00 per month.
- On the basis that the foreigner has a net worth no less than R12 million and pays to the DHA an amount of R120, 000.00 upon the approval of the application.
CITIZENSHIP AND NATURALIZATION
The Citizenship Act distinguishes between two broad groups of persons eligible to apply for South African citizenship by Naturalization. These are:
- A child born in South Africa of parents who are not South African citizens or who do not possess permanent residence status qualifies to apply for South African citizenship upon turning 18 years of age if
- he or she has lived in South Africa from the date of his or her birth to the date of turning 18 years of age; and
- his or her birth has been registered in accordance with the provisions of the Births & Deaths Registration Act with the Department of Home Affairs.
- A person in possession of permanent residence who has ordinarily resided in South Africa for at least 5 years after acquiring permanent residence status and who has not been absent from South Africa in any one of the past five years from the date of submitting his or her application for citizenship.
To be eligible for naturalization, a person must have been a permanent resident of South Africa for a specified period, typically five years or longer. They must also meet certain requirements, such as being of good character, being able to speak one of the official languages, and passing a citizenship test.
A person automatically qualifies for South African citizenship if:
- you are born in South Africa and at least one of your parents is a South African citizen or a SA permanent residency permit holder
- if you are adopted by a South African citizen.
A person can apply for South African citizenship by descent or naturalisation.
Any foreign national can apply to retain his or her citizenship before obtaining citizenship of another country. Unless you have been granted retention of citizenship before acquiring citizenship of another country, you will lose your SA citizenship automatically.
A person may apply to have his or her South African citizenship reinstated if he or she is a former citizen by birth or descent and you have returned to South Africa permanently.
You may renounce your South African citizenship if you intend getting citizenship of another country without retention of dual citizenship.
Contact us for more information on Citizenship and Naturalization.
APPEALS AND REVIEWS
With our appointed attorneys, Banda And Associates Inc. www.bandalaw.co.za; we assist in preparing and formulating appeals for rejections by completing the online application forms and arranging for submission at the Visa Facilitation Centres around South Africa, and our appointed attorneys will draft your motivation letters and representations to motivate and compel the Department of Home Affairs to reconsider your application and arrive at a positive decision.
Visa and Permit Appeals are subject to DHA approval and we assist applicants to submit the appeal within the 10 working days for both section 8(4) appeals which are appeals to the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs against the decision of the Immigration Adjudicating Officer, and section 8(6) appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs against the decision of the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs.
However, when applicants have exhausted the section 8(4) and 8(6) appeal processes and the result is still negative, with our highly trained team of immigration attorneys from Banda And Associates Inc. www.bandalaw.co.za, will assist with drafting litigation papers, instituting legal action in the High Court of South Africa against the Minister and the Director General of Home Affairs, overturn the negative decisions and secure a Court Order that compels the Department of Home Affairs to issue your visa or permit forthwith.
- Documents Attestation
- Unabridged Birth certificate
- Unabridged Marriage certificate
- Letter of Non- impediment
- Sworn Translation services.
- South African police clearance
- Criminal Record Expungement
- Vehicle Clearance certificate