Can I take up employment in South Africa, if my spouse/partner is already working on a valid South African work visa? This is just one of many questions we regularly get asked at Initiate Immigration. In this case if your partner is working in South Africa on a valid work visa, you may directly apply for temporary residence based on “accompanying spouse/life-partner”.
Working in South Africa – Working in a developing country
Classified by the United Nations as a middle-income developing country, South Africa has a multi-faceted economy with excellent resources and an excellent national distribution network. We excel in the areas of finance, law, communications, energy and transport and have one of the top stock exchanges in the world.
South Africa ranks alongside countries such as India and Brazil for investment potential. Considered a ‘developing’ country – one with first-world economic status, but dealing with third-world poverty – South Africa now ranks 25th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) and is seen as a newly industrialised country.
Working in South Africa – the business hubs
Advanced development is significantly localised around four areas: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria/Johannesburg, hence most skilled employment as well. Beyond these four economic centres, development is marginal and poverty is still prevalent despite government efforts.
Working in South Africa – Finding employment
Any expatriate, who wants to find a job in South Africa should consider checking out the country’s many professional organisations and trade unions, should be well versed on the BEE subject and labour law. For instance, the Congress of South African Trade Unions is a coalition of 19 trade unions with a total membership of more than 1.8 million; then there is are other unions such as Solidariteit, Numsa and more.
Immigrants to South Africa without local contacts should not worry about finding a job in the country. Many positions are not advertised through official channels, so remember to send resumes/CVs directly to companies in addition to your usual employment applications. Having a specific contact person to whom to address your letter is very helpful. Staffing agencies and recruiters are also increasingly assisting companies to find staff, so be sure to submit your details to them.
Online career sites in South Africa include Career Junction, Bizcommunity, Kalahari ads, Gumtree, ITWeb and more, which allows job seekers to match their qualifications with available jobs. For Foreign Language specific recruitment websites we suggest looking at Foreign Language Placements and Language Recruiters amongst others.
Working in South Africa – Good business planning before immigrating
In most cases, meetings follow the usual format. Deliver a well-considered agenda in advance, to allow for preparation, and avoid setting up important meetings over holiday periods such as Christmas (up to mid-January) and Easter. Be patient in meetings: small talk and considerable variations from the agenda are common occurrences.
When making a presentation, be prepared to provide hard facts and figures to those you are addressing. English is the primary language of business, but it can be advantageous to prepare written material in an additional local indigenous language as well. Be sure to choose the correct language, as there are many and using the incorrect one could backfire. Once again, proper research is important.
It pays to be aware of the role played by trade unions in South Africa. Large companies employing local South Africans often have to deal with trade unions about issues of remuneration and service conditions.
On the following pages you can find out more about working in South Africa:
Should you have any questions with regard to working in South Africa please feel free to contact one of our experienced immigration consultants.