What is a Critical Skills Visa?
The Critical Skills Visa is a Temporary Residency Visa which is a combination of the Quota Work Visa and the Exceptional Skills Visa. These visa categories have since been replaced by the Critical Skills Visa after the law change in May 2014. The Critical Skills Visa was introduced for non-South African citizens or residents to fulfil specific positions in South Africa that are deemed critical by Home Affairs. The duration of the Critical Skills Visa is up to the discretion of the official issuing the visa. This type of visa can be issued for up to 5 years.
Are you eligible for a Critical Skills Visa?
You qualify to apply for a Critical Skills Visa if you have a specific skill that aligns with your qualifications and your post graduate experience as well as the Critical Skills list. South Africa Immigration Group will assist you with obtaining a SAQA Certificate and registering with the designated professional body which are both required for the application process to commence. Please Click Here to view the Critical Skills List.
Applying for a SAQA certification can currently take up to 4 weeks. After applying for the SAQA certification, you will then be required to register with the relevant professional body. The processing times for this depend on who you need to register with. Once this is done, the application process for the Critical Skills Visa can begin. The application must be submitted in your home country and can take up to 8 weeks to process.
If you currently hold a valid Temporary Residency Visa within South Africa and are simply renewing or changing from one category of the Critical Skills List to another category you may submit in South Africa. This is only a viable option if you have more than 60 days remaining on your current visa. Processing times can take from 8 to 12 weeks.
Frequently asked questions about the Critical Skills Visa?
Can I apply without a job offer?
Yes you can. The Critical Skills Visa is designed to attract non-South African citizens or residents with skills that are deemed critical by Home Affairs in South Africa. Should you apply without a job offer, it is likely that you will only receive a 12 month Critical Skills Visa. This time is allocated for you to enter South Africa and find a job that aligns with your specific critical skill. Once you have found a job, it is required that you re-apply for a new Critical Skills Visa which can be done in South Africa. This new Critical Skills Visa will specify the name of the company you are hired by and at times your exact designation with the company.
Is the Critical Skills Visa employer specific?
Yes it is. If you change employers, you are required to apply for a new Critical Skills Visa that aligns with that specific company.
Can I apply for Permanent Residency if I have a Critical Skill?
Yes you can. If you have five years of post-graduate experience that aligns with your Critical Skill, you are eligible to apply for Permanent Residency.
Can my family accompany me on my Critical Skills Visa?
Yes. It is possible to apply to have your family accompany you on your visa.
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