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South Africa, once again, revises it’s Critical Skills List

Posted by Sue-Allan Mehl

A warm welcome to Medical Professions

On 02 August 2022, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) published it’s updated Critical Skills list with a surprising addition of various medical professions. These additional changes were applauded and welcomed extensively by the public and medical professionals.
These medical professions were divided into specialist categories, which leads to South Africa having more access to medical talents. A total of 39 new occupations have been added to the revised Critical Skills list with an extensive description of these occupations.
We have also noticed that the term ‘Specialist’ was added to Nurse Educator, a term which was omitted on the previous Critical Skills list.
These medical professionals are still expected and required to register with the relevant professional bodies eg. Nurses would be required to register with the Nursing Council of South Africa (NCSA) and medical doctors with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Interestingly enough – in addition to the South African registration, these medical professionals will be required to have a valid registration in place with their relevant professional or regulatory bodies abroad as well. A requirement which was not in the previous skills list either.

Other Critical Skills news

Sadly, earlier this year, the following official Home Affairs communications have been withdrawn –

Directive 22 of 2014 –

This means that applicants now need to include a written confirmation of skills letter from the relevant professional body as part of their Critical Skills visa and PR applications. Previously, if a membership registration was in place, there was no need for a written confirmation of skills letter.

Ministerial Waiver 2016 for Graduates from South African Tertiary Institutions in the area of Critical skills –

A very unpopular decision made by Home Affairs. In essence, this means that foreign graduates who studied in South Africa towards a critical skill are no longer able to apply for permanent residence (PR) immediately. They would have to ensure that they have at least 5 years post-qualifications experience in order to qualify and apply for PR.

Ministerial Waiver of 2005 –

Exemption from the requirements of the Immigration Act and Regulations were given to expedite the issuance of work visas to newly recruited foreign health professionals. This is no longer possible.

MIE for Permanent Residence (PR) applications

An additional step for Permanent Residence based on Critical Skills was added by Home Affairs. Applicants, who submit applications referencing the required post qualification work experience, now need to include additional proof of ‘vetted’ work experience which must be verified by a reputable institution such as MIE or Sterling. As this process take several weeks to complete, applicants need to be aware that this will delay their applications to submit PR applications.


Although the Department is moving in the right direction to address the skills shortage crisis in South Africa, we are still acutely aware of the extensive and onerous processing times of professional bodies and every process before one can actually submit a Critical Skills work visa application. We remain hopeful, though, that these concerns will be considered in an urgent manner to ensure that South Africa obtains and retains these skills within our country.

For more information about the Critical skills work visa and the processes aligned with it, visit our website on www.movingsouthimmigration.com or contact us on +2773 5357 534 or [email protected]

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