Who can become a resident in South Africa?


South Africa’s immigration requirements are subject to change and each application is treated individually, so the following information should be treated only as a guide.

If you are abroad the best sources of up-to-date information about South African immigration are your nearest South African Consulate, Embassy or High Commission . If you are in South Africa, contact the nearest Department of Home Affairs  or VFS office 

South African immigration law recognises the need to protect the health, security and employment prospects of South African citizens. The country has a vast supply of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, so that unskilled and semi-skilled workers are rarely accepted as immigrant workers to South Africa.

On the other hand, immigrants who will contribute to South Africa’s economy are welcomed, particularly skilled workers of a type for which there is a shortage in South Africa. Entrepreneurs and industrialists who wish to establish businesses in the country are likely to be welcomed with open arms. In view of the need to create jobs for South Africans, prospective immigrants are recommended to demonstrate a serious commitment to devoting their experience, skills and assets to the betterment of themselves and the people of South Africa.

Applications for residence

Applications for residence are considered individually on merit by an autonomous statutory body, the Immigrants Selection Board, and its basic criteria are that you should be of good character, be a desirable inhabitant, not be likely to be harmful to the welfare of the country and not engage in an occupation which is already sufficiently practised in the country.

If you comply with these criteria, you can proceed to apply for residence, which is generally done in your country of origin, at your nearest South Africa office (Consulate, Embassy or High Commission); and you must wait for the outcome of the application before going to South Africa. You can apply for a residence or an extension of your temporary residence while in South Africa at your nearest Visa Facilitation Centre; provided that you fulfil the respective criteria for application.

Further reading

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