SOUTH AFRICA – Short-term Work Authorisations Must Now Be Requested from Consulates
Effective immediately, applicants intending to work for up to 90 days in South Africa under Section 11(2) must now request their work authorisation letters from the relevant South African consulate in their country of nationality or residence, rather than from the Head Office of the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa.
The change was announced without warning on 13 May, and is expected to lead to delays in some cases, as the consulates implement the new requirement.
What is Section 11(2) Work Authorisation?
Section 11(2) of the South African Immigration Act makes provision for the holder of a visitor's visa to be authorised to conduct work in South Africa for a limited period of 90 days, with extensions rarely granted.
It is important to understand that Section 11(2) is not another category of work permit and is appropriate in limited circumstances only, in particular, where the applicant does not qualify for other appropriate categories. The work should be temporary and specific, i.e. in connection to a particular project.
Applicants requiring a visitor’s visa prior to entering South Africa can now submit a request for Section 11(2) work authorisation along with their Visitor’s visa application to the relevant consulate, if they wish to work for up to 90 days.
Previously, these applicants had to first obtain a pre-approval letter from the Head Office of the Department of Home Affairs, which then had to be submitted with the visitor’s visa application. Some consulates, however, did not require a pre-approval letter from the Department in support of a visitor’s visa with work authorisation.
Visa Exempt Nationals
Applicants who do not require a visitor’s visa to travel to South Africa must now request Section 11(2) work authorisation from the relevant consulate if they wish to work for up to 90 days. Once the approval letter is obtained from the consulate, it must be presented by the applicant to the Immigration Officer on arrival in South Africa.
Previously, these visa exempt nationals had to obtain a work authorisation approval letter from the Head Office of the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa.
- Note that applicants may experience some delay and confusion in obtaining Section 11(2) work authorisation, as the consulates have not yet been given clear guidance by the Department about the documents they should require in support of an application, or the format or content of the approval letters themselves.
- Note that visa nationals to South Africa may, nevertheless, now be able to obtain a visitor’s visa with work authorisation faster than previously, as pre-approval from the Department is no longer required.