Cape Town, capital of work visas & free lunches?

On May 22, 2013 / by Michaela / Leave a comment

work permit

No such thing as a free lunch? Well, in Cape Town free lunches regularly feature in the list of benefits for foreign language jobs. Its a proven fact however, one can not live by bread alone. So what other benefits are usually included and how high are the salaries for foreign language speakers working in South Africa?


The biggest hurdle for eager wanna-be expats coming to South Africa is finding the crucial first job in Cape Town and other business hubs of South Africa. We have interviewed Diana Magoshe from Language Recruiters, to ask her about job opportunities for foreigners with foreign language skills. We also asked her about salaries, benefits, work permits, visa requirements etc.


Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about career opportunities and work options for foreign language speakers in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Its a pleasure, thank you.


Diana, what are the most common job opportunities available for foreign language speakers in Cape Town?

Well, quite a few digital marketing agencies have set up offices in Cape Town. Some European-based marketing agencies have even moved their head quarters to Cape Town, realising clever foreigners with language skills and very high levels of education flock to this part of the world to enjoy the sunshine, beaches and to be part of a vibey emerging economy. Digital positions up for grabs involve jobs for digital marketers, seo experts, copy writers, php developers, web designers etc.


work permit

Diana Magoshe | Language Recruiter


Diana, what other industries employ foreigners, besides digital marketing agencies?

Well, particularly in Cape Town, besides digital there is a growing service industry and gaming and finance are also quite strong. Service industry involves the call centre industry, which is continuously looking for customer service agents with Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Nordic and Japanese language skills. Basically any industry in touch with overseas clients or tourists employ foreign language speakers. So that would be immigration, tourism and travel, hospitality etc.


What salaries and benefits do those companies usually offer?

The call centre and gaming industry in South Africa is known to pay very well and to offer amazing benefits – we are looking at salaries between R12 000 and R18 000 Rand per month. Keep in mind, cost of living is much lower in South African cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg then in other places in the world. Even income tax and prices for accommodation are lower here too.


What benefits are included?

Particularly for gaming and call centre, employee benefits often include free lunches, gym access, medical aid and in some cases even accommodation.


In those kind of jobs, what languages are they usually looking for?

There are French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian positions and of course jobs for Germans. But even languages like Flemish, Japanese, Hebrew and Portuguese are in demand. We are currently recruiting for a Japanese copy writer position in Johannesburg, quite a challenge I must admit.


How about a work permit? Do candidates need to apply for a work visa themselves or does the company supply work visas?

In some cases companies in South Africa hold corporate work permits, which enable them to employ a large number of foreign nationals. Once the corporate work visa has been obtained, foreign candidates can be added relatively easy to the permit. Companies usually work with a professional immigration service such as Initiate Immigration to add newcomers to this corporate work permit.


What other options are there for work visas?

Besides corporate permits which are bound to a company rather than an individual, there are Quota Work Permits, Exceptional Skills Permits and of course the General Work Permit. A lot of foreigners have South African partners and spouses and based on that make use of the benefits a life partnership permit has to offer. For instance, a work endorsement can be added to a life partnership permit, without much difficulty and without the company having to advertise the position in the media.


Thanks Diana for your time. Can foreign language speakers just contact you with regard to work opportunities?

Language Recruiters has been matching interesting career opportunities in South Africa with foreign candidates since 2007. Should you be looking for a job or a career opportunity in South Africa, feel free to contact me on I would love to discuss your career options with you.
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Michaela heads up the marketing department for Initiate Holdings. An expat herself she understands the unique challenges immigrants are facing in South Africa.

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