The South African critical skills list enable foreign nationals to work in South Africa in over 100 occupations.

These occupations are in areas with scarce, critical and special skills and in industries that help grow and sustain the South African economy.

Who decides the occupations on the critical skills list?

It’s not just any occupation that can go on the critical skills list. The Department of Home Affairs consult with the Department of Labour and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition to identify areas of need and only then is the critical skills list drawn up.

The current list has been in place since 2014 but it is set for changes as per the White Paper on International Migration for South Africa that was released in 2017. However, it remains to been how the coronavirus pandemic might influence the intention’s announced in the White Paper.

How does the DHA define a ‘critical skill’?

A critical skill, for the purpose of immigration, can be defined as a skill that is not easily sourced from local South African labour. Sourcing and employing foreigners to fill the gaps provides a workable solution that aid both South African employers and South Africa’s economy.

What occupations appear on the current list?

As mentioned, there are over 100 occupations on the South African critical skills list. These occupations are divided into 12 categories and are in industries ranging from agriculture to business process outsourcing.

Here’s a list of all 12 categories with some examples of the occupations included in each:

  1. Agriculture, Agricultural Operations, and Related Science: Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Scientist, Forestry Technician, Sheep Shearer
  2. Architecture and the Built Environment: Architect, Construction Project Manager, Land Surveyor, Quantity Surveyor, Urban and Regional Planner
  3. Business, Economics, and Management Studies: Actuaries and Risk Assessors, Corporate, General Manager, External Auditor, Financial Investment Advisor
  4. Information Communication and Technology: CISCO Solution Specialist, CISCO Engineers, Solutions Architects in Telecommunications and ICT, Integrated Developers (PHP, Perl, Java), Network Analyst
  5. Engineering: Energy Engineer, Metallurgical Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Electrical Installation Inspector, Geologist
  6. Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences: Public Health Physician, General and Specialist Medical Practitioner, Hospital Pharmacist, Nursing Professionals, Veterinarian
  7. Life and Earth Sciences: Environmental Engineers, Acquatic Scientist, Biochemist, Ecological Scientist, Laboratory Technologist and Technician
  8. Professionals and Associate Professionals: Land and Engineering Surveyor, Electronic Engineering Technician, Materials Engineering Technologist, Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Practitioner, Draughtsperson
  9. Trades: Millwright, Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Pipe Fitter, Double Coded Welder, Rigger
  10. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO): Software Development Engineers and Managers, Systems Architects, Engineers and Managers, Foreign Language speakers for specialist language support and technical or sales, Business Analyst, Quality Analyst
  11. Academics and Researchers: Researchers Doctoral Graduates (acquired abroad), Research in various areas ranging from Cosmic Magnetism to Nanotechnology
  12. Post-Graduate: Doctoral Graduate (acquired in RSA)

Which work visa do you apply for if your occupation is on the critical skills list?

If your occupation is on the critical skills list, you’ll be eligible to apply for the critical skills work visa. The main requirement is that your occupation is on the list.

You might also be interested to know that you don’t need a job offer to apply for a critical skills work visa. You’ll have 12 months to find a job in South Africa.

Another plus of the critical skills work visa is that you can apply for permanent residency straight away if you have 5 years of of relevant work experience at the time of your work visa application. This work experience can be from overseas or from working in South Africa.

Make the critical skills list work for you!

Is it your goal to live and work in South Africa? Then why don’t you contact us to see if you qualify for a critical skills visa? You can take our online eligibility assessment – it’s free – or call us on 021 424 2460. Your telephone consultation is also free!

Since our inception in 2005, Intergate has processed more than 40,000 visa and visa related queries. You can rest assured that you’re in good hands!


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