One of the South African work visa categories is the critical skills work visa, which refers to a list of skills or qualifications that are lacking in the country.
On the 3rd of October 2023, a newly updated critical skills list was published, detailing the skills that South Africa is currently experiencing a scarcity of. The new list gave emphasis to two specific skills: Veterinary Nurses and Veterinarians.
Candidate Engineers may now also apply for critical skills work visas, which was not possible before, as the Engineering Council did not issue recommendation letters for this category.
One of the most challenging aspects of the previous critical skills list was that it required the critical skills visa applicant to submit a proof of application in order to attain a certificate of registration with a SAQA accredited body. Additionally, it also required from the applicant a critical skills recommendation letter, from the same SAQA accredited body, as confirmation of the applicant’s skills or qualifications. This was particularly difficult owing to the fact that some SAQA accredit bodies do not offer the services of issuing such recommendation letters, and in some instances, applicants could not find a specific SAQA accredited body in line with their critical skill.
The newly updated critical skills list refers to proof of application for a certificate of registration with a SAQA accredited professional body, where applicable (i.e., if required by law), or a critical skills recommendation letter from a SAQA accredited body.