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Work Permits for South Africa

Permanent Residence (or Direct Residence)

The requirements in this category are the following:

A foreign national who has been the holder of a work permit (including the holder of a corporate permit) for a period of five (5) years, and has received an offer of permanent employment, provided that:

  • A  salary benchmarking extract must be filed by the prospective employer confirming that the remuneration including all benefits to be paid to the incumbent will not be less favourable than that which would have been paid to a South African citizen or resident in the same position;
  • The Department of Labour issues a certificate to the effect that remuneration to be paid to the incumbent includingl salary and benefits are not inferior to that being paid to South African or residents, with due regard to the relevant market segment into which the foreign national is to be employed.

Permanent Residence

The applicant must have received a permanent offer of employment and be able to prove that they have five (5) years of employment record on valid work permit in order to qualify for permamnent residence on the basis of a permanent job offer.

The exception to this rule is in the category of exceptional skills (dealt with hereunder).

Permanent Residence

This category encompasses a foreign national who has demonstrated to the Department of Home Affairs extraordinary skills or qualifications.

Temporary Residence

This category provides for four categories of permit:
  • A quota work permit
  • A general work permit
  • An exceptional skills work permit
  • An inter-company transfer work permit.

Each of these permits is dealt with hereunder:


The Minister is Home Affairs, in consultation with the Ministers of Labour and Trade and Industry shall determine quota categories at least annually.
If an applicant falls within such category then he/she may apply for a work permit in this category.

This Ministers shall also determine a numerical quota in each quota category.


This category of work permit may be issued by the Department to a person not falling within the quota category.

In this category the prospective employer must show what efforts have been made to secure the services of a South African citizen or permanent resident.

These requirements are inter alia, the following:

  • An advertisement for the position must be placed in the national print media.

  • Details of applicants who applied for the position must be provided, coupled to reasons why they did not qualify for the position.

  • A salary benchmarking extract must be provided certifying that the foreign national applicant will not be employed on terms and conditions less favourable than that being paid to a South African citizen or resident occupyin such position’ a Department of Labours certification to this effect.

  • An undertaking must be given by the prospective employer that it will notify the Department if the applicant ceases to be in its employ or changes job description.


This category encompasses a foreign national who has demonstrated to the Department of Home Affairs extraordinary skills or qualifications.

This category of work permit enables the Department to issue a work permit to an individual of exceptional skills or qualifications without having to comply with much of the required formalities and certifications having to be complied with. Each case will be dealt with on its individual merits.


This category of work permit may be issued to a foreign national who is permanently employed abroad by a company which also operates a branch/subsidiary or affiliate business in South Africa. The applicant must, by virtue of his/her employment, be required to conduct work in South Africa, for a period not exceeding two years.

This type of permit is non extendable.

The requirements to obtain this kind of permit are relaxed by way of comparison with the other categories of work permit.

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Attorneys appointed by Accurate Immigration are Regulated by the Law Society of South Africa.
Accurate Immigration's SA Immigration Lawyers are specialist practitioners in
Immigration Law for South Africa.

The information on this page is intended to be general in nature and should not be construed as applying to the reader's individual set of circumstances. It does not constitute legal advice. Eligibility requirements and the application of laws vary on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, Immigration laws, regulations and policies are always subject to change at any time without advance notice.
2001 - 2007