Work Permit in South Africa

Why is Work Permit Needed?

The foreign nationals coming to work in the country require an authorized work permit and a South Africa work visa as instructed by the immigration laws. The work permit must be sponsored by a licensed and incorporated entity of the country.

About the South Africa Job Market

Expat Job Websites

Jobnetafrica, Visahunter, Learn4good

Popular Industries for Expats

Automotive Industry, IT & Communications sector, Mining, Banking and Services sector

Types of South Africa Work Visa Available

Here are the major types of South Africa work visas which an employee can avail for entering the country for work: 

General Work Visa

This visa is for the length of the employment contract, which must be updated to the Director-General annually and up to a period of 5 years. The visa is dependent on the sponsoring employer. In case the employee changes the employer, they have to apply for a new work visa.  
The employer has to give an explanation as to why they advertised for the position and were not able to acquire a suitable local candidate, thus hiring a foreign candidate. Additionally, the chosen applicant must have the required skills and experience of at least 5+ years. 

Critical Skills Work Visa

This visa is valid for three years and can be acquired without a job offer. But the visa holder has to prove that they are employed within 12 months after receiving the Critical Skills Work Visa. 

Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa

This visa is issued to an employee planning to transfer from a foreign company to its branch company in South Africa. The duration of the visa is four years, and it cannot be extended. In addition, the employee must be employed for at least six months in the foreign company before applying for the Intra-Company transfer work visa.   

Entrepreneur Work Visa

The applicants who wish to start a business in South Africa will be required to have an Entrepreneur Work Visa. This visa is issued for at least 3 years and can be extended. The interested expat must invest at least ZAR 5,000,000 in the country and must hire at least 60% South African residents in their business. For this visa, one has to get approval from the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). This will verify if the business is feasible and whether it can make a positive contribution to the nation’s interest.  

Business Visa

This is a short-term work visa in South Africa that is used for business purposes. It is different from the Business permit. This visa is valid for only three months and is non-renewable.

Requirements for a South Africa Work Permit

There are different factors that determine what type of documentation is required to apply for a South Africa work visa. However, some of the standard documents required are: 

  • ~A valid passport with at least one-month validity from the date of the applicant’s intended return date.  
  • ~Proof of employment in South Africa. 
  • ~Medical documentation like the vaccination records and the radiology reports.
  • ~Copy of bank statements to prove sufficient funds.
  • ~Proof of medical insurance issued for the duration to be spent in South Africa. 

There might be some additional documents required in some cases. For example, applicants may be required to provide official police clearances for every country they have lived in or a cash deposit to cover the return trip to their home country. 

South Africa Work Permit Application Process

To obtain a South Africa work visa, this is the application process which the employer and employee have to follow:


  • ~To start with the application process, the employee provides the required documents to the company.
  • ~The company collects the following documents: 
  • ~~A written undertaking to cover any deportation costs which are related to the applicant and their dependents. 
  • ~~A written undertaking to notify the Director-General if the applicant fails to obey the visa conditions. 
  • ~~A written undertaking to the Director to inform if the terms of the employment change. 
  • ~~A proof of the company registration with the Commission on Intellectual Property and Companies. 
  • ~~The employer and the applicant sign an employment contract. This contract will be proof that employment is conditional on the approval of a General work visa, and the employee is to be paid a suitable market salary. 
  • ~~A supporting letter is issued by the Employer to explain the reason why the General work visa is required for the applicant. 
  • ~~A complete application for DHA-1738
  • ~~A proof of the position being printed in the national print media in South Africa.
  • ~After this, the employer has to apply for a SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) to evaluate the qualifications of the applicants. This process may take at least 2-3 weeks. 
  • ~The employer has to apply to the Department of Labor for a certificate that can confirm that no local person was eligible to fill the position. 
  • ~The employer has to confirm with the Department of Home Affairs every year about the employment status of the employee and update the terms and conditions of the employment. 
  • ~After this process is complete, which takes at least 1-2 months, the employee has to apply for the work permit in person at the South Africa Consulate located in their home country. The processing time for this is 30 days after which, the employee is allowed to enter South Africa to commence their job.

South Africa Work Permit Fees 

The fees of a South Africa work visa and work permit may vary according to the Embassy or High commission where the application is submitted. The general work visa can cost around 1583 South African Rand (105 USD) approximately.  However, it can be changed without notice. 

How Multiplier Can Help 

We’re a global EOR solution on a mission to simplify the onboarding process for companies like you. With local entities in over 150+ countries, we are here to help you manage talents from across the globe. Our in-house experts design our HR suites to provide end-to-end solutions to our users. 

With the help of our SaaS-based solutions, you can raise a request for a South Africa work visa. Our well-equipped team will simplify your task by handling the entire process, from processing to the document checklist and the costs. During the whole process, you will be kept notified about the progress.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can the family of the employee also enter the country with a South Africa work visa?

No. The employee’s family or spouse will be allowed to enter the country with a residence visa only when the employee has been granted a permanent residence visa or South Africa work visa.

Where to apply for a work permit in South Africa?

Once the employee receives approval on the work visa, to obtain a work permit in South Africa, they have to apply at the South African Consulate located in their home country.

Who requires a South Africa work visa?

One should apply for a work visa for South Africa if: 

  • ~They wish to take temporary employment in the country, with or without remuneration. 
  • ~They want to set up or run a business for a temporary time period in South Africa. 
  • ~They are being transferred temporarily to an affiliated company in South Africa. 
  • ~They are recruited to work on a temporary basis in South Africa as an employee or consultant under the intergovernmental agreement. 
  • ~They wish to acquire fixed assets in the country for either speculation or rent purposes. 
  • ~They plan to visit South Africa to produce a film, TV commercial, or documentary. 
How to spot a fake work permit in South Africa?

To identify a fraud permit, it is essential to know if the DHA issued the work permit or not. If the work permit doesn’t have approval from DHA, it is a forged document. 


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