Getting permanent residency as a critical skills graduate in South Africa

On August 1, 2019 / by Sherone Lewis / Leave a comment

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If you are a foreign student who is studying in a critical skills area at a South African university, you stand a good chance in getting permanent residency in South Africa. 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.

The Department of Home Affairs has stipulated that your course will need to be at a degree level or higher and 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
  • Veterinarians
  • Public Health Physicians
  • Biological Scientists
  • Aquatic Scientists
  • Engineering Geologists

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.

Right now, 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 legal. The good news 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.

Want to find out if you qualify to apply for South African permanent residency through your critical skills degree? Make sure you get in touch with one of our Immigration Consultants today.

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