A work permit is the permission to take a job within a foreign country. It may also be a permit given to minors allowing them to work legally under child labor laws. Within an industry, a work permit may be required to execute certain functions within a factory outside normal operational tasks (such as maintenance tasks)
There are three categories of South African work visa or permit available to a foreigner each with its own set of specific requirements all assisting in immigration to South Africa or working in South Africa. These are the General Work Visa/Permit, the Critical Skills Work Visa/Permit and the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa/Permit. Due to recent immigration law changes (May, 2014), the obtaining of work visas or permits in South Africa has become much more arduous. Furthermore, these work permits are now referred to as visas.
General Work Visa/Permit – The basis of a general work visa/permit is that a firm offer of employment has been made by a prospective employer to a foreigner after such employer has unsuccessfully exploited the local labour market in attempting to procure the needed skills, experiences or qualifications equivalent of such foreigner.
Critical Skills Work Visa/Permit – A critical skills work permit may be issued to a foreigner who possesses critical skills or qualifications and is able to demonstrate with supporting documentation in the form of testimonials, publications. This is based on a list published by the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa called the Critical Skills List A letter of motivation from an authoritative body to substantiate the benefits that those skills will bring to South Africa. This critical skills work permit is granted for up to five years and may be renewed for a further period, if required. This visa type replaces the previously issued Quota Work Permit and the Exceptional Skills Work Permit.
Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa/Permit – An intra company transfer work permit is issued to a foreigner who is normally deployed or seconded to South African branch, subsidiary or associate office of a corporate entity aboard. There are strict controls to ensure that the foreigner remains employed in his or her specific position during the tour of duty. This type of visa is only valid for two years, and often no extension is possible. Also, any applicant must have first worked for a minimum of 6 months in the employ of the company’s foreign office before applying to relocate and immigrate to the South African branch
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