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Work permits / Permanent residence

Government requirements and objectives | Permit application | Permit renewal | Costs | Types of work permits | Permanent residence | Processing of appointments

Government requirements and objectives

All persons who are not South African citizens or permanent residents of South Africa, and who wish to take up employment in South Africa, require a work permit in order to do so.

The Department of Home Affairs will consider an application for a work permit on submission of an offer of employment in a confirmed position from a recognised organisation.

The objectives of the State in instituting the provisions of the Immigration Act, No.13 of 2002 are to ensure that South African citizens and permanent residents are not disadvantaged in their quest for employment by the employment of foreign workers and that the cost of repatriating foreign workers will not be borne by the State.

Permit application

  • On acceptance of a T2 contract or permanent appointment, the prospective staff member will be contacted by a registered Immigration Practitioner contracted to UCT, who will confirm which documents are required for the application, will collate same and submit the application and supporting documents for processing either to the nearest South African Embassy or Consulate if the staff member resides outside of South Africa, or at the Department of Home Affairs via a central verification centre (VFS) if the staff member resides within South Africa.
  • All applications need to be submitted personally by the applicant.
  • The application can take two to three months to be processed.
  • The applicant should not make any steps towards taking up employment in South Africa until such time as they have been informed in writing that the work permit has been approved and their passports have been endorsed accordingly.

Permit renewal

The onus is on the staff member to renew their permit (including those of family members) whether it is a work, study or visitor's permit prior to the expiry date. The application for renewal should must be lodged at the Department of Home Affairs 60 days prior to the expiry date of the permit.

Costs

The University will cover the cost of the work permit and renewals for senior administrative staff (pay class 9 and above) and academic staff with T2 and permanent appointments. The University will also cover the cost of temporary residence permits for spouses of prospective staff members in the above categories and study permits for their children. Prospective staff members living outside of the country will be required to cover the cost of the permits upfront but will be refunded when they take up the appointment at the University.

Costs for staff in other categories will be covered by the staff member or in some instances by the department.

The University as an employer agrees to pay repatriation costs in the event of deportation only. The University will not be responsible for the payment of repatriation costs under any other circumstances.

Types of work permits

Critical skills work permits

This applies to a list supplied by the Department of Home Affairs of professions that are regarded as critical in South Africa. The list indicates the qualifications and experience that applies to each profession in order to qualify for this kind of work permit. Academic staff would fall under this category. Critical Skills work permit applications do not require an advertisement.

It is a requirement of the Department of Home Affairs that the qualifications for those prospective staff members applying for a critical skills work permit are verified. The verification process is done with SAQA via the Immigration Practitioner.

The current legislation states that you cannot be issued with a work permit and study permit at the same time. Approval has however been granted to UCT by the Department of Home Affairs for the holder of a critical skills work permit at UCT to study towards a PhD at the same time.

General work permit

An advertisement is required for this type of permit unless the position is considered as senior management.

Positions need to be advertised in a national newspaper and need to be a specific size (60mm x 60mm). Adverts may not be older than three months from the date of the advert to the date the application is lodged with the Department of Home Affairs. It is however possible to apply to the Department of Home Affairs for a waiver of this condition. This is available at a cost via the Immigration Practitioner and could delay the application until approval is received.

It is a requirement of the Department of Home Affairs that the qualifications for those prospective staff members applying for a general work permit are verified. The verification process is done with SAQA via the Immigration Practitioner.

Permanent residence

Once a staff member has taken up their permanent appointment at UCT, application may be made for permanent residence (immediately in the case where the staff member is the holder of a critical skills work permit, or after five years if the staff member is the holder of a general work permit). In order to apply, the staff member must be in possession of a valid work permit. When making application, the importance of correct completion of the documentation cannot be over emphasized.

Should you wish to apply for permanent residence it is recommended that you make contact with the Appointments Office so that a referral can be made to the university's Immigration Practitioner, who will assist with providing the necessary documentation and submitting the application. The application needs to be made in person at the Department of Home Affairs via the VFS and the applicant and all family members included in the application need to be present, together with the Immigration Practitioner. The permanent residence process is long (approximately 12 - 18 months) and you need to ensure that your work permit is kept valid throughout.

The University will cover the cost of the application for senior administrative staff (pay class 9 and above) and academic staff with T2 and permanent appointments but will not cover other miscellaneous costs associated with the application.

The University as an employer agrees to pay repatriation costs in the event of deportation only. The University will not be responsible for paying repatriation costs under any other circumstances.

Processing of appointments

Appointment of persons who are neither South African citizens nor permanent residents of South Africa cannot be processed unless a work permit (valid for the period of employment) accompanies the take-on forms (HR100a/b/c) applicable to the appointment.

Page last updated: 19 November 2014