Connecticut, US

Mar 07 2019

Leaked Critical Skills List May Reduce Work Permit Options for Foreign Nationals

South Africa

The situation

A document containing a shorter list of available categories within the South African Critical Skills Visa application has leaked. The document is labelled as a draft and is suspected to be the new critical skills list that is planned for April 2019. The Department of Home Affairs has yet to confirm whether the leaked list is official or a final version of the new critical skills list.

A closer look

The critical skills list has been under review since the Minister of Home Affairs announced plans to overhaul the visa process in South Africa. One of the key elements in the plan is to review and update the Critical Skills List to align it with the current employment market. The leaked document contains a much shorter list of critical skills, with key categories such as the General Corporate Manager, Business Analyst and a number of information technology fields removed.

Impact for employers

Should the draft Critical Skills List be implemented, employers will need to hire local workers to fill positions where foreign nationals may have been used previously. Fragomen recommends that employers contact an immigration consultant to determine the best course of action on a case-by-case basis.

Impact for foreign nationals

Foreign nationals will be eligible for fewer critical skills positions than before, should the list be implemented. Foreign nationals should contact an immigration consultant to determine the best course of action if the new list is confirmed.


  • The critical skills list has not been reviewed or updated since 2014. The Department of Home Affairs announced intent to review the list as part of the plans to overhaul the South African visa process in 2018.
  • While this list is unconfirmed, it is believed that a new list will be implemented in April 2019.


Looking ahead

The proposed changes follow the Department of Home Affairs’ intentions to protect and advance the local labour market. Fragomen anticipates that a new list will be implemented either in April 2019 or after elections in May 2019 and will report on relevant developments.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to