Foreigners who wish to work in South Africa may, provided that he/she meets the quintessential requirements, apply for a work visa in one of the following categories:
General work visas: proving amongst other things that the particular skill set of the foreigner is not available in the South African labour market.
The general work visa process is an onerous and burdensome process and requires the recommendation of the Department of Labour. The practice of the DHA is that these applications are refused if the support of the Department of Labour is not acquired.
General work visa are issued for up to 5 years at a time and are renewable within the borders of South Africa.
The holder of a general work visa may change status and/or conditions while in South Africa.
Critical skills work visas: A critical skills work visa may be issued to a foreigner possessing such skills or qualifications determined to be critical by the Minister of Home Affairs and to those members of this/her immediate family.
Critical skills as a general rule should not bind its holder to one particular employer;
The applicant has 12 months from receiving the critical skills work visa to secure employment.
Critical skills work visas are issued for a maximum period of up to 5 years and are renewable within South Africa.
The holder of a critical skills work visa may change status and/or conditions within South Africa.
Holders of critical skills work visas may apply for South African permanent residence permits.
Intra-company transfer work visa: These visas may be issued to a foreigner who has, amongst other things, been employed by a foreign employer for at least 6 months at the time the application is made and who is required to be deployed to the South African branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the foreign employer.
Intra-company transfer work visas are issued for a maximum period of 4 years at a time and cannot be renewed.
A new application for an intra-company transfer work visa can be made at the South African mission in the holder’s country of origin or place of ordinary residence.
By law, the holder of an intra-company transfer work visa can change status and/or conditions while in South African (a discrepancy however exists in the practice of the DHA).