In a previous article, we looked at ways of getting jobs in South Africa. Alongside that comes the process of applying for a South African work permit. There have been a few changes made to the South African immigration system over time and conditions may change again. Applying for a South African doesn’t have many steps but the steps can get complicated.

Get the job

Step one in the current setup is to get the job. We’ve talked about how to find jobs in South Africa before. There are many options for searching for jobs in South Africa. The process will involve interviewing for the job. While the pandemic has brought video interviews to the fore it may still be necessary to travel for them if travel restrictions are lifted. Things that will matter at this stage are qualifications and a proven track record which will come in handy later.

Contingent agreement

Once the job is in hand you will require a contingent offer letter. This is a document that states that you have been awarded a job with an organisation and you have an agreement that will be activated once you have been granted a work permit. This will then allow you to proceed and apply for the work permit for the job. The employer will come into play a little later in the application process again.

General Work VISA

The process has seen a few changes over time. In prior years applications were processed through the South African High Commission in Zimbabwe. As things currently stand South Africa uses the services of VFS Global to collect application information. You start the application online via the VFS Global website. Important steps in this part of the application process include getting your qualifications accessed and given equivalents by the South African Qualifications Authority. The process will involve the submission of your application and an interview.

Company must prove

The hardest part of the application process is the requirement for the employing company to sufficiently prove that they have made all efforts to find a candidate within the republic and has failed to do so. In addition to this, they may be required to prove that you are indeed an outstanding candidate and this is where that track record comes in handy. This is the hardest part because it’s out of your hands. The process is arduous but well worth it.

Critical skills VISA

It’s also a good idea to acquaint yourself with the South African government’s critical skills list. This list gazettes a range of job titles or qualifications that are highly sought after in the republic. These will therefore not go through the same process as the general work permit applicants. For this application one will need medical and radiological reports, a valid police clearance not older than 6 months. Where an employer has already been engaged proof that the employer accepts responsibility for the applicant if there is a need to return to Zimbabwe. The most important thing for this route is filling a role that is on the critical skills list. Application is again done through the VFS Global website.

The immigration situation continues to be evaluated and so does the application process and requirements. Another thing to keep an eye on is the critical skills list and the critical skills VISA process. Information on this can be found on More information on the South African Visa Application process can be found on :