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From winemaker to millwright - who qualifies for Critical Skills Work Permit?

The starting point when bringing in a foreign specialist into your business is the Critical Skills List, which notes the professions where Home Affairs issues work permits due to areas where there are shortages of skills.
© Rabia Elif Aksoy – 123RF.com

Foreign nationals who therefore have the skills listed on the Critical Skills list may apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa to work in South Africa. The list has been highly criticised, from not including many business skills, to certain categories being “abused” by a wide interpretation.

Over the last 18 months, there has been talk of refining the list further with the “Corporate General Manager” category top of the chopping block. This new list is highly anticipated with wide spread speculation on what will be included, or perhaps more importantly excluded.

Do you need a new Museum Manager, Director of Marketing or IT specialist?


The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has published the National list of occupations in high demand: 2018 listing over 370 high-demand occupations in South Africa.

The occupations listed are those that show relatively strong employment growth and/or are experiencing shortages in the labour market or which are expected to be in demand in future.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge


The Critical Skills list published in 2014 was developed in conjunction with the occupations in high demand and the scarce skills lists of the DHET. It is therefore expected that the 2018 list will again be consulted when revising the Critical Skills list and as such may provide a window into what we may expect from revised Critical Skills list.

For the first time the DHET list has been divided into three levels of demand, highest demand, higher demand, and high demand. Cross referencing the occupations on the above DHET list to the current Critical Skills list published in 2014, we highlighted below some of the occupations still showing high demand as well as a few new and emerging occupations not on the DHET list before and not on the current Critical Skills list.

View the full list here.

About the author

Marisa Jacobs is a director and Immigration Specialist at Xpatweb
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