Working in South Africa, What Foreigners Should Know


There are different work permits requirements for different fields of work.  Remember that you should get your work permit before you leave your country of residence for South Africa.  The work permit will be required by immigration officers at entry points and you may be deported back to your country if you do not supply all the necessary documents at entry points. Even though economic opportunities are many in South Africa, jobs are still rare and preference is always given to South African citizens.  Therefore, before you plan to become the country’s employee this is what you should know:

  • Opportunities are available for university graduates with exceptional skills.
  • You must at least have a special qualification or experience in skills that are rare in the country.
  • Most unskilled or semi-skilled workers succeed only if they start their own businesses.
  • There is an abundance of business opportunities. If you do a thorough research, you will find a market that is short on supplies.
  • A company that wishes to bring its own skilled workers must prove to the Home Affairs department that there are no local workers who can meet those skills.

Having said all this, it does not mean that getting a job in South Africa is entirely impossible. There are still foreign nationals who come to the country and make a living from some of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs available.  It depends on how much you do your search and if favour is on your side.

If you are planning to find work in South Africa know that the country experience shortage in the following fields:

  • Science and Engineering (e.g. Geologists, Astronomers, Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and more)
  • Education (Mathematics and Science teachers
  • Health (Specialist doctors)
  • Information Technology
  • Commerce (Chartered Accountants)
  • Agricultural Science

If you have a skill that is very rare in the country, you will find employment in no time.