You stand a good chance of doing so if you’re studying in a critical skills area!
The Department of Home Affairs allows students in critical skills areas to apply for permanent residency immediately after completing their studies, with many of the usual requirements set aside.
Continue reading to find out more.
Your course must be at a degree level or higher
The Department of Home Affairs has stipulated that students in critical skills studies must have a qualification at a degree level or higher. In other words, one of the following:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Honours degree
- Master’s degree
Your qualification must be a in a critical skills area
There are 12 areas of education on South Africa’s current critical skills list. These areas cover industries where South Africa don’t have enough local talent to fill the gaps in the job market.
The areas migrants apply under most commonly are ICT, Engineering, Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, and Life and Earth Sciences. Some of the occupations under these areas are:
- Solutions Architects
- Integrated Developers
- Chemical Engineers
- Civil Engineers
- Mining Engineers
- Public Health Physicians
- Biological Scientists
- Aquatic Scientists
- Engineering Geologists
You can view the latest critical skills list here. Also read our article on the 2019 draft critical skills list. This list was supposed to come into effect in February, but at the time of writing (July 2019) it still hasn’t happened.
No need to first apply for temporary residency
In most cases, it is necessary for foreign nationals in South Africa to hold a temporary visa before applying for permanent residency.
For instance, it is only possible to apply for permanent residence after five years of continuous work on a general work visa.
There are many reasons why this is not the ideal situation. If the general work visa holder wants to change employers, they have to lodge a new visa application. This causes a lot of uncertainty and stress, as the new visa – and the person’s stay in South Africa – is not guaranteed.
Permanent residents on the other hand are free to change jobs as often as they like. That’s because permanent residents are not on visas that are tied to a specific employer. Permanent residents are in fact viewed the same as citizens in this regard in South Africa.
No need for professional body registrations or experience in your field
The Department of Home Affairs has waived the need for eligible students to submit a certificate from a Professional Body, Council or Board recognised by SAQA. Getting these certificates often take up to a year! So, this is a huge advantage you’ll have over other critical skills applicants.
The Department has also waived the need for 5 years’ post qualification experience, which is required for all other critical skills permanent residency applications. This extends to not having to submit a comprehensive CV or testimonials from previous employers with your application.
You will, however, still have to meet all the other requirements, such as submitting police clearance certificates and undergoing certain medical tests.
Quick turnaround time (compared to other permanent residency applications)
At the moment, the Department of Home Affairs is taking up to two years to finalise permanent residency applications. In certain cases this makes it necessary for applicants to go through the effort of renewing their temporary visa in order to keep their stay in South Africa legally.
The good news, excellent news in fact, is that the Department has marked permanent residency applications from students in critical skills areas as priority cases. This changes the turnaround time from up to 24 months to 6 to 8 months. While this is still not a waiting time that most people will consider short, it is at least a year-and-a-half shorter than normal.
Your family can join you in South Africa
If you have a spouse, life partner or dependent child, you can include these family members in your application.
It is important to note that your spouse or life partner will receive an accompanying spouse visa. With this visa, your spouse or life partner will only be able to reside in South Africa – working, studying or starting a business is not allowed.
Want to find out if you qualify to apply for South African permanent residency?
If you’re not familiar with the South African critical skills list, let one of our agents check whether or not the degree you are studying meets the requirements.
Should you be eligible for a permanent residency application, our agents will be able to explain the way forward in detail to you.
You can contact us on either +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or +27 (0) 11 234 4275 for a chat. Or why not save your airtime and get us to call you? It’s as easy as asking for a call back on our website.