Immigration to South Africa: Critical Skills visa applications
September 1, 2016
If you are planning to move to South Africa, please note the following immigration update: Critical Skills Visa applications require registration with the relevant professional body or council associated with the skill-set of the applicant. Current practice shows that many statutory and non-statutory councils and professional bodies have their own set of requirements and criteria that need to be met. This can cause the process to take much longer than anticipated.
It is important for employers and their foreign applicants to understand that professions on the Critical Skills list are either statutory or non-statutory professions.
Statutory bodies are established as a result of an Act of Parliament and govern the practice of specific occupations in South Africa. Non-statutory bodies normally create a regulated working environment for the relevant profession. They are considered voluntary as a candidate is not necessarily required to be registered to practice in the relevant profession (unlike statutory professions where a person is required to be registered).
Issues and challenges include:
- Ability of statutory bodies to find a balance between maintaining the quality and regulation of their profession and the new influx of applicants trying to register for the Critical Skills visa
- Requirements to register with the professional bodies vary depending on the applicant’s experience and qualifications, which can cause confusion
- Requiring an applicant to register before applying for the Critical Skills visa can extend the application process
South Africa is adapting to the influx of applicants since the introduction of the Critical Skills visa and will, over time, have the resources in place to deal with the numbers. Clients should be aware of the complexities of the current practice and plan their applications in advance.