General Work Permit – South Africa
General Work Permit applies exclusively to foreign nationals who are skilled, experienced and or qualified workers. These candidates should have an offer of employment by a South African employer. This Employer should be able to demonstrate that a bona fide and or diligent search was conducted to source locally the appropriate skilled work. Such search of local skills in South Africa should deem the particular foreign worker being the best equipped in terms of skills, experience and or qualifications to take up the position at hand for the benefit of the employer concerned.
In order to protect the local workforce the employer will need to demonstrate that they have complied with the diligent search requirements set out in the immigration laws or face the work permit application being rejected.
The employers in South Africa needs to appreciate that without a job offer the actual work permit cannot be procured and therefore such employers do need to understand that work permit process in South Africa so as not to eliminate a potential foreign worker to their own detriment.
Are you a candidate for general work permit?
Before submitting an application for South African general work permit, you need to be sure that you fulfil all basic requirements.
- First, it is necessary to have a job offer from an employer within South Africa and not linked to such foreign branch or affiliate company linked to a South African company. Such job offer cannot be the one filed by employers who are sending the employee to South Africa from some other international branch of the company.
- Secondly, such foreign worker needs to be able to prove the skills, experience and or qualifications required for such skilled work through the presentation of a comprehensive CV, work and training certificates, references, degrees and diplomas that must also be assessed locally by SAQA.
- Thirdly, the South African employer must demonstrate efforts made to procure local skilled workers which must be evidenced through a formal advert and additional corroboration of such endeavours to procure such workers within the local South African labour market, despite reasonable advertising efforts.
- By “appropriate candidate”, we are referring to a person able to fulfil all reasonable requirements and qualities set by the employer. Therefore, in case the local labour market cannot offer such candidate, whereas foreign applicant fulfil all aforementioned requirements, only then can such foreign applicant can obtain general work permit.
- In furtherance of the foregoing, your application requires approval from South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
- Finally, you need to be in good health and be free of certain criminal offences abroad by the issuance of medical reports and police clearances.
As you can see, you must fulfil several requirements for a general work permit to be complied with before being issued with a general work permit. Therefore, our advice is to contact us, since we will provide you with detailed consultation regarding your general work permit, making sure that you meet all requirements and conditions. That is the safest way to know for sure whether you are a candidate for the general work permit application or not.
How to apply for general work permit?
The applications for general work permit can be submitted either abroad at the South African consular offices in your country of origin or where you hold a long term. The advantage is that it does eliminate unwanted delays in most cases, however, the downside is that you are subject to indiscretions by the immigration permitting officials who may not be competent to fully assess your application against the immigration laws.
In most cases we advise that you apply in South Africa assuming you are form a visa exempt country to ensure seamless entry into South Africa. We will prepare as much of the documentation for your general work permit in advance to allow you to arrive and submit within a very short space of time.
It is advised to contact our offices to discuss you initial strategy to ensure that you can work immediately upon arriving in South Africa whilst awaiting your formal general work permit whilst remaining in South Africa.
Permanent residency and General Work Permit.
If you are planning to stay in South Africa and perform skilled work under a general work permit you may after five years being the holder of such work permit apply for permanent residence assuming you are holding a permanent contract of employment.
Skilled work whilst with South African Spouse or Permanent Partner.
If you wish to work in South Africa and are in the position to demonstrate being married to a South African or in a permanent relationship you can work and take up employment whilst on a spouse permit.
Family Members accompanying the Skilled Worker.
Your family can accompany you whilst you hold a general work permit so long as you retain a valid work permit. Should you children at school going age they will apply for their separate study permits and your spouse will hold an accompanying spouse permit whilst you work in South Africa. This document will not allow work, but it is still necessary to obtain, if they are to live in South Africa.
Before taking any action related to your general work permit or any other legal document, it is highly advisable to contact us for consultation and advice. We will help you by providing all necessary information and assistance. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us.
Can spouses and partners of general work permit holders also work?
Only the holder of a general work permit is entitled to work. An accompanying partner or spouse permit can apply to change his or her status to that of a general work permit from the accompanying spouse permit to facilitate the work endeavours.