Answer to a question from a reader

Can graduates in the critical skills category receive a waiver from having to work for 5 years before applying for Permanent Residence?

The short answer

Yes, if you have graduated from a South African university.

The whole question

I am a refugee status holder (for over 15 years) and I'm currently studying a degree in the critical skills category at a South African university. I would like to apply for Permanent Residence and would like to know if I can apply for it under this category after obtaining my degree. I read an article stating that graduates in the critical skills category may receive a waiver from having to first work for five years, and may apply for Permanent Residence directly. Will this be possible for me once I have completed my degree?

The long answer

Yes, if you have graduated from a South African university in a critical skills category, three waivers apply to you since 21 April 2016 under the Immigration Act of 2002:

These are:

24(4) a: certificates from professional bodies, councils or boards recognised by SAQA. (These can take up to a year to be issued.)

24 (4) b: five years of post-qualification professional experience.

24 (4) c: testimonials from previous employers.

These are the documents that Home Affairs (or rather VHS Global which acts for Home Affairs) will require after you have received the waivers and apply for Permanent Residence:

  • Certified copies of all your previous South African visas including their corresponding entry and exit stamps.
  • DHA-947 form completed online
  • 2 passport sized photos
  • Copy of your current and previous passports.
  • Certified copy of your birth certificate.
  • Motivation letter specifying your critical skill and how it would benefit South Africa.
  • Page of government gazette where your critical skill is listed and clearly circled.
  • Medical Certificate no older than 6 months at the time of submission.
  • Radiological report no older than 6 months at the time of submission.
  • Police Clearance Certificate from every country that you have lived in for at least 12 months since you turned 18 years.
  • Yellow Fever vaccination certificate if you will travel through or have been to a yellow fever region.
  • Academic qualifications (degrees, transcripts, certificates)

Answered on June 24, 2020, 12:52 p.m.

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