South Africa, like many countries, is facing a skills shortage and has had to implement a critical skills list in an attempt to manage the crisis and attract globally mobile professionals to grow its economy.

This is because many of the critical skills that the country needs are simply not available locally, which means that there is currently an open door for skilled professionals from anywhere in the world who want to live and work in SA, to apply for a critical skills visa.

Skilled professionals in a range of sectors, from information technology and communication (ITC), science, medicine, academia and the built environment are required to fill posts in the country.

SA makes provision in Section 19(4) of the Immigration Act, 2002 as amended, for critical skills visas to be awarded to professionals who can show that they possess the skills and/or qualifications that match the required occupations listed on the critical skills list.

The critical skills list, published by the Department of Home Affairs, is updated fairly regularly to ensure that there is always a pathway for the necessary skilled professionals to enter the country provided they have applied and qualified for the critical skills visa.

The South African critical skills visa is issued for periods of up to five years and may be renewed, while also offering a pathway to permanent residency.

Some of the typical skills listed on the latest Critical Skills List for South Africa include a range of engineers, corporate general managers, scientists, physicists, technicians, architects, quantity surveyors, risk assessors, integrated developers, IT specialists, health professionals, industrial pharmacists, tradesman, specialist support foreign language speakers and academics. The complete current critical skills list can be accessed here.