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  • Sue-Allan Mehl

Critical skills work visas - Compulsory steps


In February 2022, the Department of Home Affairs issued a new Critical skills list, which was revised on 01 August 2022 and 02 August 2022 again with added medical professions.


Prior to the issuance of the new list, applicants did not have to submit an offer of employment with their visa applications and was issued with a 12-month critical skills visa in order to seek employment for one year. It is important to note that the applicant still had to qualify for the critical skills visa. Once an employment offer was obtained within the year, the applicant had to change conditions by adding the employer contract and further 4 years to the visa. By law, a critical skills work visa may be issued for a maximum five (5) years at a time.


Previously, applicants did not have to provide a written confirmation of skills letter, nor did they have to submit an actual membership certificate from a professional body. Proof of application of membership was sufficient as part of the application.


We have to confirm, once again, that these 'privileges' have been removed from legislation as part of the new critical skills work visa process. See below, a brief overview of the compulsory steps and documents to be submitted with the critical skills work visa process -


  • A SAQA certificate if qualifications were obtained abroad;

  • An employment offer or contract from a South African employer;

  • An undertaking by same employer offering employment;

  • A written confirmation of skills letter from the relevant professional body;

  • A membership certificate from the relevant professional body (membership needs to be valid at all times)

The NQF level stipulated on the SAQA certificate must align with the NQF level required for the occupation as per the new critical skills list.


Foreign students who graduated at a South African university and who studied towards a critical skill are unfortunately not able to apply for permanent residence immediately anymore. This directive has been withdrawn by the Department of Home Affairs in January 2022 and these graduates now need to ensure they have the relevant five (5) years post qualification work experience.


Lastly, in the event of a permanent residence application based on critical skills, a MIE or Sterling report must accompany the application to confirm the five (5) years post qualification work experience.


Should you require any information regarding the new critical skills work visa process, you may contact us via our Contact Form on www.movingsouthimmigration.com. Alternatively, we may be contacted on +2773 5357 534 or sue@movingsouthimmigration.com


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