General Work Visa in South Africa

Your Central Source for Information on the General Work Visa in South Africa

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Applying for the South Africa General Work Visa

A South African General Work Visa enables foreigners to work for a South African employer, but only if the employer has made every attempt to fill the vacant position with either a South African citizen or a permanent resident holder.

The General Work Visa is a temporary residence visa that’s only applicable if you don’t qualify for any other work visa in South Africa.

It can be challenging to successfully apply for a general work visa because the clause about not being able to fill the position with someone from South Africa is difficult to prove or disprove.

An IBN Immigration Solutions consultant can work with you to simplify the process as much as possible and guide you through the various requirements to enhance your chances of success.

South Africa General Work Visa Requirements, Forms & Documentation

Several things need to happen before foreign applications can be considered.
Local authorities in South Africa must be satisfied that the relevant employer could not fill the position with someone local.
The steps to ensure that all requirements have been met and that the proper process has been followed can be long and complicated.  

All Required Application Forms can be found at our Immigration Resources

  1. The available position must be open for at least 30 days and advertised in local newspapers.
  2. Curriculum-vitaes of unsuccessful applicants must be submitted, along with proof/motivation detailing why you are a better fit for the position than someone from South Africa.
  3. The Department of Labour (DOL) will issue a recommendation explaining that no suitable employee from South Africa can be found and that suitable foreign applications can be considered.
  4. The DOL will visit the South African site to ensure that the employer complies with labour laws. They will also search their database for suitable applicants in South Africa.

Note: Processing time for the South African General Work Visa can be considerable because different departments are involved. Much of the delay can be attributed to the submission and processing of letters from the DOL to the DHA (Department of Home Affairs).

The letters and accompanying documentation are essential.
You can’t submit your immigration application pack without them.
Once you have the all-clear from the DOL and DHA, you can proceed with your application for a South African General Work Visa.

You will need the following forms and types of documents:

  • The usual personal documentation is required for all types of visas in South Africa.
  • Proof of evaluation of foreign qualifications of the successful candidate by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
  • A letter of recommendation or certificate from the Department of Labour.
  • A copy of the applicant’s existing offer of employment.
  • Proof that the position was advertised in a South African newspaper.
  • Various relevant undertakings from your local employer.

General Work Visa Costs

Your immigration consultant will provide information on all the fees and sundry costs associated with South African General Work Visa applications.
You’ll get an accurate assessment of costs based on the current financial markets and visa application trends.

How to Apply for a South African General Work Visa

We recommend you get in touch with one of our immigration specialists before you begin applying for a General Work Visa in South Africa. That way, you get started on the right foot with realistic expectations for the next few weeks.

Your immigration consultant will advise you on the necessary forms and documents you’ll need and the strict qualification requirements.

  1. Apply for your SAQA certificate.
  2. Receive an offer of employment and advertise the position.
  3. Start the DOL application process.
  4. Get in touch with your immigration consultant once your application to the DOL is approved and you receive your letter of recommendation.
  5. Share your documentation and supporting forms with your consultant, who will review your application submission pack.
  6. Your immigration consultant will send your pack for an in-house quality check to see if you’ve met all the requirements.
  7. Once it’s passed the check, it’s finally ready for you to apply for your South African General Work Visa.
  8. Your consultant will submit your application to the relevant Immigration Authority.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • A General Work Visa is valid for up to five years; however, your contract will determine the exact duration.
  • If necessary, you can renew your General Work Visa for another five years. There is no limit to the number of times you apply for a renewal.
  • You can apply for a renewal from within South Africa.

Yes, your dependents can come with you to South Africa on your visa.

Yes, once you’ve gained five years of relevant work experience in South Africa on a General Work Visa, you have the opportunity to immigrate permanently to the country, by applying for Permanent Residence.

However, there are still two requirements that must be met. You still need to be employed and have an offer of permanent employment.

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