Are you a South African national thinking about migrating to Australia?
Australia’s migration programme offers a wide range of temporary and permanent residence visa options designed to suit different goals and needs for applicants seeking to emigrate from South Africa to Australia. These include skilled visas, which are aimed for applicants who possess a specified minimum level of skills, qualifications and employment experience to competently perform selected highly skilled occupations in Australia. Business visa options are targeted for applicants who are seeking to establish or invest in a business or investment activity in Australia. Student visas are often a good option for younger applicants who wish to study at one of Australia’s internationally recognised and highly regarded educational institutions. With the right information and advice, you can assess your eligibility to apply for a visa to Australia from South Africa from the numerous available options and plan a pathway to emigrate from South Africa to Australia that is in line with your personal situation, goals and needs.
Some of these options are temporary residence visas, which allow you to reside in Australia for a specified period, and others provide automatic permanent residence. It is also often the case that a temporary visa may provide a pathway to permanent residence at a future date, subject to meeting specified requirements at that time. A temporary visa is often a good way to experience the Australian way of life for a shorter, limited period (for anywhere from a few months to several years) before deciding on whether you would like to eventually settle permanently in Australia. Temporary visas are also generally decided in a shorter time compared to permanent residence visas and may therefore be an attractive option if you are seeking a quicker entry to Australia. Once you are onshore as a temporary visa holder, there may be options for you to then apply for permanent residence, subject to satisfying all relevant visa grant requirements (and remain onshore during the processing period).
The crucial point to remember here is that with the right information and advice, you can plan ahead with a view to eventually settling in Australia permanently. You can tailor a pathway that is based on your individual circumstances and which is in line with your needs and goals. Depending on your personal situation, you could apply for a permanent residence visa immediately from South Africa. Alternatively, you could take a more extended pathway, by applying for a temporary visa to Australia from South Africa, but with a view to eventually applying for permanent residence in Australia. Each case is different, and you will need to make a plan that achieves the best outcomes for you.
With this in mind, we make a very important point – each visa class has been designed to serve a particular purpose and must not be used to achieve visa outcomes that are inconsistent with these stated aims (which are incorporated into visa lodgement and grant requirements). If you are found to have breached such a requirement, apart from a visa refusal, this could also result in serious consequences arising which can affect future visa applications that you seek to lodge with the Department. This means that, for example, you should not apply for a series of short temporary visas for the purpose of prolonging your stay in Australia. Each visa has a specific purpose, and you must not apply for a visa if your intention is not in accordance with this purpose. We illustrate with the following example: if you apply for a Student Visa, you must satisfy a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement. This is concerned with ensuring that your intention in applying for a Student Visa is to study a selected course in Australia for a temporary period only. Therefore, applying for a series of student visas one after the other, for the purpose of remaining in Australia, rather than for genuine education purposes in accordance with GTE requirement, is likely to lead to a visa refusal and potentially the imposition of a 3-year exclusion period for any future visa applications. It is the Australian Government’s position that students must not come to Australia intending to migrate permanently. It is thus vital that you plan your pathway with the correct information and advice, thus avoiding potential complications arising.
Your dependents, such as your spouse and children, are also normally able to accompany you to Australia, provided they meet the dependency requirements (note if your children are aged 18 to 23, they will need to meet specified conditions to apply as your visa dependent). Age criteria can be a ‘time of decision’ visa grant requirement, meaning that Immigration will assess your dependent’s eligibility for visa grant at the processing stage (rather than the date when you lodge the application). Based on current estimates, it can take years for certain permanent visa applications to be processed. It is therefore advisable if you have a dependent who is getting close to the 18-year age mark (in their mid-teens), that you start putting a plan in place as soon as possible. Otherwise, your dependent may need to seek an alternative pathway to residence in Australia and lodge a separate application from your family unit.
As you consider your own visa options and plan your pathway to emigrate from South Africa to Australia, it is vital that you rely on the most up-to-date and accurate information in making your decisions. Australia’s migration laws are complex, and this has been further complicated in recent years with constant changes to the laws being enacted by the Federal Government. Things can change with very little notice provided, and you must be aware of these developments as you consider your own situation. To ensure that you gain the best and most effective result based on your individual circumstances, it is important that you have an in-depth understanding of how these laws apply in practice as well how the latest developments affect your application. Due to the complexity involved, you may consider seeking expert advice from a migration agent or immigration lawyer. These are trained professionals in Australia’s migration laws and are available to assist you with all aspects of your application.
In this article, we provide an overview of the visa options and pathways most relevant for South Africans to migrate to Australia. We include a discussion of the key features of the various visa options available, requirements for visa grant and what the various options will enable you to do once you are in Australia.
Note that this is an introduction only designed to help guide you in this process. Therefore, we recommend before you apply for any visa, that you make the proper further enquires to ensure that you are fully informed about the visa grant requirements and how they apply to you based on your personal situation. This will give your application the best chance of a successful outcome and avoid unnecessary processing delays or a potential visa refusal. It also means that you achieve an outcome that is the best one for you and your family, and which is in line with your goals and needs.
Which type of visa should you apply for?
The first step in this process is to determine which class of visa is most suitable for you based on your individual circumstances. This requires an examination of the visa grant requirements that apply to each relevant visa class which you are interested in applying for, and your ability to satisfy them. Another important factor will be to determine what a successful application will mean for you and your family, and whether this is in line with your goals and future plans. For example, will the visa allow you to reside in Australia temporary or permanently? What type of restrictions will apply, such as work rights? Will you be required to live in a certain area of Australia, and for how long? It is important that you address all your questions as part of this process and that you are fully informed about your rights and obligations as a visa holder. If your application is successful and you are granted a visa, you must abide by the specific conditions attached to your visa. Failing to abide by these conditions can result in serious consequences, which can impact on your future visa applications to Australia. It is therefore very important that you are aware of all the facts and make your decisions on this basis.
This class of visa is based on your skill set and ensuring that you are qualified to competently perform an occupation which is in high-demand in Australia. There are several options within this visa class, and each one has its own specific requirements and obligations. These broadly fall into two categories:
|General Skilled Migration (GSM)||Employer Sponsored and Nominated Visas|
|Summary of key features and requirements|
You will note from the above discussion that the visa subclasses contained within each category share some common features. But there are also some important differences. We discuss below some of the factors which are specific to each subclass.
Skilled (Independent) Subclass 189 Visa
The subclass 189 visa is an independent, points-based visa which grants automatic permanent residence in Australia.
A successful application will allow you to reside in Australia indefinitely, with nil visa conditions imposed. You will not be restricted to where you can live. You will be permitted to work and study and enrol in Medicare. You will also be granted a 5-year travel facility, which will allow you to freely depart and re-enter Australia for this period. Thereafter, you may have the option to extend your permanent residence rights or apply for Australian Citizenship.
Skilled (Nominated) Subclass 190 Visa
This is also a permanent residence, points-based visa, but with the added requirement that you must receive nomination approval by a State or Territory Government. This nomination will grant you an additional 5 points towards your points score. You will need to apply for nomination approval usually at the same time as you lodge your EOI.
If your visa application is successful, you will have the same rights as those that apply to the subclass 189 visa, but with one important difference: you will be subject to additional obligations to your sponsoring State or Territory. These requirements differ for each jurisdiction but can include the following:
- Reside in the nominating State or Territory for a specified minimum period
- Advise your address details
- Complete surveys
- Provide other information as requested
We refer you now to our article titled ‘State Sponsorship options’ for further information about the nomination process.
Skilled (Regional) subclass 489 Visa
This option provides a pathway to permanent residence 2 years following visa grant, subject to meeting certain requirements at that time. You will need to submit an EOI and apply for State or Territory Government nomination approval. Alternatively, you may have the option to be nominated by a specified relative living in a designated area. This visa will grant an additional 10 points towards your points score.
The subclass 489 visa also features a ‘chain migration’ pathway if you apply for South Australian State nomination. If you are eligible for this pathway, you will have access to an extended list of occupations. To be eligible, you will need to meet additional nomination requirements and have an immediate family member permanently residing in South Australia.
This visa will allow you to live and work in Australia for up to 4 years, but the location will be restricted to a specified regional area.
Our article titled ‘State Sponsorship options’ which has been referred to above also provides useful information for the subclass 489 visa:
Temporary Skill Shortage Subclass 482 Visa
This is an employer sponsored temporary visa which permits you to live and work in Australia for up to 2 or 4 years, depending on your nominated occupation. It may also provide a pathway to permanent residence via an Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 Visa or a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 Visas.
Both the subclass 186 and 187 visas consist of a Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream, which allow a subclass 482 visa holder to transition to an employer nominated permanent residence visa 3 years following grant of the temporary visa, subject to meeting specified requirements. There is also a Direct Entry (DE) stream, for applicants who are eligible to apply immediately for permanent residence. See the discussion below for further information about the ENS and RSMS visa programmes.
The subclass 482 visa application involves 3 separate applications. Your proposed sponsoring employer must lodge Sponsorship (SBS) and Nomination applications, and you are required to lodge a Visa application on your behalf. All 3 applications must be approved for a successful application. Note that an SBS application will only be required if your proposed sponsoring employer is not already an approved sponsor for this purpose.
This visa is made up of the following streams:
- Short-term stream – applies where a nominated occupation is listed on the Short-term Skilled Occupation list (STSOL);
- Medium-term stream – applies where a nominated occupation is listed on the Medium-term Skilled Occupation list (MTSOL);
- Labour agreement stream – applies if your proposed sponsoring employer has entered into a labour agreement with Immigration.
If your application is successful, you will be granted a subclass 482 visa for a period of between 1 and 4 years, depending on your nominated occupation, the visa stream that you apply under and your individual circumstances.
As part of the subclass 482 nomination requirements, your sponsoring employer will also be subject to a SAF Skilling Australia Fund levy (SAF Levy). Please refer to our article titled ‘SAF Skilling Australians Fund Levy’ for further information:
Your sponsoring employer is also required to demonstrate there is a genuine need for the nominated position in their business. Please refer to our article titled ‘Genuine need provision’ for further information regarding this requirement:
Note that this visa subclass imposes specific conditions regarding your employment obligations to your sponsoring employer for the visa period. You will also be free to travel to and from Australia for the duration of the visa.
The subclass 482 visa may be a more attractive option within the skilled visa class if you are seeking a relatively quick decision. The current average processing time for 75-90% of applications is approximately 48 days for a subclass 482 visa, which is significantly less than the average processing times currently being experienced for other skilled visas (often being processed no earlier than approximately 6 months of lodgement date).
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 Visa
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 Visa
Both the subclass 186 and 187 visas are permanent residence visas requiring nomination by an employer. The process requires lodgement of 2 applications – a nomination application which is lodged by the employer, and a visa application lodged by the visa applicant. Both applications must be approved for a successful application.
The primary differences between the ENS and the RSMS programmes are:
- Where the nominated position is located – under the RSMS, the position must be carried out in specified regional area; and
- The Skilled Occupation List which applies (see below).
The Skilled Occupation List is an important factor when it comes to applying for the employer nominated permanent residence visa under both the ENS and RSMS visa programmes.
Your nominated occupation must be listed on the MTSOL to meet visa grant requirements, unless the position is located in regional Australia, in which case additional occupations are available for nomination purposes.
This means that you could settle in one of many areas in Australia, such as Adelaide, the Northern Territory, or Tasmania, which are all deemed to be ‘regional’ areas for this purpose, and still be eligible to apply for permanent residence (despite your occupation not being listed on the MTSOL). This demonstrates the importance of having the right information and advice on which to base your decisions as you plan your pathway right from the start, especially if you are intending to apply for ENS or RSMS in the future under the TRT stream. The choices you make when applying for a temporary visa, such as the subclass 482 visa, will have important ramifications for your permanent residence options later down the track.
Note that you will have an obligation to remain employed in the nomination position for a period of 2 years following visa grant.
The subclass 186 and 187 visas will allow you to reside in Australia indefinitely, with nil visa conditions imposed. You will be permitted to work and study and enrol in Medicare. You will also be granted a 5-year travel facility, which will allow you to freely depart and re-enter Australia for this period. Thereafter, you may have the option to extend your permanent residence rights or apply for Australian Citizenship.
Further information about Skilled Visas
We have prepared a series of articles to provide you with further information about the Skilled Visa class and provide the following links for your reference:
Article: Roadmap for skilled applicants – which road should I take? This outlines the key features and requirements of the various skilled visa options available
Article: Do I need a skills assessment? Provides further information about what a Skills Assessment is, and when one may be required for skilled visas
Article: English requirements for skilled visas Outlines the minimum English language competency level required for skilled visas
This class of visa is aimed for applicants seeking to establish a business, commercialise a product or invest in a business or investment activity in Australia. It consists of multiple business and investor visa types, designed to suit different goals and needs, and each has its own specific requirements and obligations. These broadly fall into two categories:
|Business Innovation and Investment Subclass 188 Visa||Business Talent Subclass 132 Visa|
|Summary of key features and requirements|
We have prepared a series of articles to provide you with further information about some of the above and provide links below for your reference:
Article: Business and Investor Visas Provides an overview of the business and investor visa programme, including a case study about what qualifies as a business for this purpose
Article: How to get sponsored by South Australia for a business visa Information about requirements you will need to satisfy for nomination approval from the South Australian Government
Article: Which Business Visa? A real-life example about how to select the right Business Visa
Article: Significant Investor Visa Eligibility in South Australia An outline of the nomination requirements for South Australia’s Significant Investor (SIV) program
We have also developed a business visa eligibility test calculator to help you to assess your eligibility for a business or investor visa.
We now discuss some of the factors which are specific to each subclass within the business and investor visa programme.
Business Innovation and Investment Subclass 188 Visa
|Stream||Key features and requirements|
As a Subclass 188 visa holder, you will be permitted to carry out your proposed business or investment activity in accordance with your visa obligations. You will also be free to travel to and from Australia for the duration of the visa. You will need to abide by the obligations imposed by your nominating State or Territory Government.
After you have held your subclass 188 visa for a certain length of time, you may qualify for the subclass 888 visa (a permanent residence visa) if you meet specified requirements at that time. The date when you are first eligible to apply will depend on the ‘stream’ under which you apply.
Business Talent Subclass 132 Visa
|Stream||Key features and requirements|
|Significant Business History|
|Venture Capital Entrepreneur|
A successful application will allow you to reside in Australia indefinitely. You will also be permitted to carry out your proposed business activity in accordance with your visa obligations. You will be permitted to work and study and enrol in Medicare. You will also be granted a 5-year travel facility, which will allow you to freely depart and re-enter Australia for this period. Thereafter, you may have the option to extend your permanent residence rights or apply for Australian Citizenship. You will need to abide by the obligations imposed by your nominating State or Territory Government.
A Student Visa will allow you to study a wide variety of selected courses from specified education providers across Australia. You can find a course to suit your needs and goals and package a series of courses that you are interested in studying. Available courses of study cover a large range of options, including vocational, higher and postgraduate education courses, English language and non-award courses. There are also student visa options to allow your children to attend School in Australia.
In addition to furthering your education, studying in Australia will provide you with the opportunity to experience what the Australian lifestyle has to offer as you can travel in your spare time and during course breaks. You will also have limited rights to work in Australia, thus enabling you to experience another facet of Australian life.
A Student Visa is a temporary visa which is granted for the duration of your course, extended for an extra period, depending on the time of year when your course is due to be completed.
Applying for a student visa can also provide a potential pathway to permanent residence in the future, depending on your course of study and your personal situation. Potential future visa options include a Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 Visa, which would allow you to work in Australia upon completion of a specified course. A Skilled Visa is another option that may be available to you at some stage in the future. This is where planning is crucial – it is important to ensure that you are fully informed on all the facts regarding the various study options, nominated occupations and other requirements for visas classes which you may be able to apply for in the future. The important point to be aware of is that there are certain things that you can do to increase your chances of obtaining a permanent visa at the end of your course. Keeping in mind that outcomes can never be guaranteed and that migration laws can (and often do) change, having the right information and advice from the start of the process is the best way to ensure that you make a plan that will have the best chance of achieving an outcome that is in line with your personal goals and needs.
Consider also our discussion in the introduction to this article – that students must not come to Australia with the intention of migrating permanently. A Student Visa is only for applicants who are seeking to reside in Australia temporarily to study a specified course. We recommend seeking professional advice to ensure that you formulate a pathway that is in accordance with all requirements, and thereby avoid potential complications arising.
Some of the key requirements for Student Visa grant are outlined below:
- Your must meet a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement – this is concerned with ensuring that you intend to reside in Australia temporarily for the purposes of completing your course of study
- You must meet a minimum Financial Requirement – to ensure that you have the financial resources required to cover course fees, costs of travel to/from Australia, and for your living expenses in Australia
- English language requirements also apply
We refer you now to the following articles which we have prepared for further information about some of the above and provide links for your reference:
Article: International Student Visa Requirements This outlines the key features and requirements for Student and Graduate Visas
Article: What course should I study to get PR? Provides some helpful tips on choosing a course with a view to potentially applying for a permanent residence visa in the future
Article: No further stay condition on Student Visas This article provides information about visa condition 8534, a ‘No Further Stay’ condition which restricts your ability to apply for a further onshore visa in Australia
Article: Extending Student Visas Provides an outline of the requirements for extending your visa to study another course in Australia
To meet the visa grant criteria for certain skilled visas, you will need to apply to a specified skill assessing body to have your skills assessed as being suitable for your nominated occupation. This is called a ‘Skills Assessment’ and you must receive a positive assessment result for visa application purposes.
The aim of a Skills Assessment is to have your skills, qualifications and employment experience assessed by an independent body, to confirm whether you are sufficiently qualified to perform your nominated occupation in Australia. Examples of skills assessing authorities include Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), Australian Nursing & Midwifery Accreditation Council Limited (ANMAC) and VETASSESS.
Each assessing authority sets its own requirements to determine when an applicant is deemed to be suitably qualified for this purpose. Such an assessment will principally be based on your work experience and qualifications, but may include other skills assessment methods, such as completing a test, submitting written works or examples of work you have performed in your occupation.
You might also need to meet an English language requirement, which may be different to the Immigration requirements in this regard. In such a case, you would need to achieve the higher specified minimum results that apply to the skills assessment.
There are also specific requirements regarding the date and timing of a Skills Assessment result. A skills assessment is valid for a limited period only, being either 3 years from the date of issue, or on a date earlier if specified in the skills assessment. Once the relevant validity period has passed, it will be deemed to have expired and will no longer be valid for visa purposes.
If you are seeking to apply for a skilled visa where an invitation to apply is required, your skills assessment must have been issued either on or before the date when you receive the invitation.
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
The relevant skill assessing body will assess your South African qualifications against the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) to determine whether they are equivalent to an Australian qualification. We refer you to the table below to demonstrate the method for assessing higher education and vocational qualifications obtained in South African compared with the Australian standards.
|South African qualification||Comparable to the educational level of the AQF qualification||Assessment notes|
|National Certificate (at least 120 credits, NQF level 5)|
|National Diploma (at least 240 credits, NQF level 5)|
|Higher Certificate (at least 120 credits, NQF or HEQF level 5)|
|National Certificate (at least 120 credits, NQF level 6 or 7)|
|National Diploma (at least 240 credits, NQF level 6 or 7)|
|National Diploma, National Diploma for Technicians or National Engineering Diploma|
(3 years full-time, Awarded by a Technikon)
|National Diploma (4 years full-time, Awarded by a Technikon, With a Statement of Equivalence to a National Higher Diploma)|
|National Higher Diploma (Awarded by a Technikon, After a 3 – year Diploma)|
|Advanced Certificate (At least 120 credits, NQF level 6 or HEQF level 6)|
|Advanced Diploma||A, B|
|Diploma (At least 360 credits, NQF or HEQF level 6)|
|Advanced Diploma (At least 120 credits, NQF or HEQF level 7)|
|Diploma of Education, Higher Diploma in Education, Higher Education Diploma or Certificate or Diploma in teacher education (3 or more years full-time, After 12 years school)|
|Bachelor Degree||A, C|
|Bachelor Honours Degree|
|Bachelor Degree||A, D|
|Postgraduate Diploma (1 year full-time)|
|Higher Education Diploma, Graduate Certificate in Education, Graduate Diploma in Education (1 year full-time, after a relevant 3-year Diploma or Bachelor Degree)|
|Post-Graduate Certificate (at least 120 credits, NQF or HEQF level 7HEQF level 7, After a Bachelor Degree)|
|Assessed on a case-by-case basis||E|
- Institutions that are not included in the list of institutions must be registered with the Department of Education and the program must be listed on the South African Qualifications Authority database.
- Qualifications that require a Bachelor Degree for entry are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- This guideline also includes the Baccalaureus Technologiae
- This guideline is for Bachelor Honours Degrees where the program was an additional research-based year after a Bachelor Degree. It does not cover Bachelor Degrees awarded “with Honours” where the designation applies to academic achievement. The Bachelor Honours Degree programs may be specialised and have a thesis requirement. However, their outcomes may not be comparable to those of Australian Honours Degrees. It’s up to the educational institution, assessing authority or employer to determine the level of the qualification based on their expert knowledge of the field of study.
- This includes qualifications from unlisted institutions awarded before the introduction of South African Qualifications Authority and the National Qualifications Framework in 1995.
Vocational Education and Training
|South African qualification||Comparable to the educational level of the AQF qualification||Assessment notes|
|Certificate (NQF level 1-3)|
|Below Certificate IV||A|
|National Certificate Vocational (NQF level 4, Awarded by Umalusi)|
|National Senior Certificate (Vocational) (Awarded by the South African Certification Council)|
|National Commercial Certificate or National Certificate for Domestic Science|
|National Certificate for Technicians|
|National N4 Certificate and National N5 Certificate (Both awards must be held)|
|Advanced Technical Certificate|
|National Technical Certificate (parts 5 and 6, or levels N5 and N6)|
|National N5 Certificate and National N6 Certificate (Both awards must be held)|
|National N Diploma|
|National Higher Certificate for Technicians|
|National Technical Diploma|
- Qualifications at NQF levels 1-3 are below Certificate IV level which we do not assess. If the qualification is in a trade field, it is more appropriately assessed by Trades Recognition Australia or by Australian state or territory trade authorities. If it is not in a trade field, recognition should be sought through Recognition of Prior Learning.
To demonstrate how the AQF framework is applied in the assessment of South African qualifications, we refer you to the ‘Higher Education’ section. The first entry (this is highlighted for your reference) lists the South African qualification titled ‘National Certificate.’ Under the AQF, this is deemed to be equivalent to a Diploma level qualification in Australia. The ‘Assessment Notes’ provide additional information relevant to the assessment of this qualification. If you refer to ‘Assessment Note A’ below the table, you will see that a further requirement applies regarding registration of the educational institution and course program.
Similarly, we now refer you to the ‘Vocational Education and Training’ section. The highlighted entry shows that a Certificate (NQF level 1-3) is equivalent to a qualification in Australia that is at a lower level than a Certificate IV. In the Assessment notes below the table, ‘Assessment Note A’ provides additional information about assessing such a qualification.
Each nominated occupation will have its own minimum qualifications and work experience requirements for skills assessment purposes. As a guide, trade occupations generally require that you have 3 years’ work experience in addition to a relevant qualification. For general occupations, one year’s work experience completed after your qualification will usually be the minimum required, but this will depend on your occupation, with specific requirements applying to each.
Our article titled ‘Do I need a skills assessment?’ which has been referred to earlier in this article also provides some further useful information about what a Skills Assessment is, and when one may be required for skilled visas.
To give yourself the best chance of a successful result, you should be fully informed about the specific requirements that apply to your nominated occupation. If you do not apply in accordance with the skills assessing body and Immigration requirements, your application will be refused. You may also incur longer processing times, and the loss of valuable time and money if complications arise. It is thus very important that you are fully across the relevant, most up-to-date information, as it applies to your personal situation. We recommend that you seek professional advice in this regard to ensure that you receive tailored advice that is based on your individual circumstances and explains what you need to do to comply with the skills assessment requirements and ensure that you lodge a complete and correct application.
Book a consultation with us today for immigration assistance and a comprehensive skills and visa assessment. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide. We can prepare and lodge all relevant applications for you, ensuring that you submit complete and correct applications with the required supporting documentation, and thereby giving you the best chance of a positive result. Give us a call!
English language requirements
You may be required to achieve a specified minimum English language competency standard as part of the visa grant requirements. As a South African national, you will in most cases need to complete a specified English language test (for example, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)). If you have spoken English throughout your life, you should not find it difficult to meet the minimum English requirements. You will have a choice in selecting which English test you complete from a specified list, and resources are available to help you to prepare for your test (including practice tests and coaching programmes). Keep in mind also that you can also sit the test as many times as you like.
Our article titled ‘English requirements for skilled visas’ referred to earlier in this article provides some further useful information regarding the minimum English language competency level required for skilled visas:
Application processing times
As a final point, it is also important for you to be aware of the average processing times that you can expect in relation to your application. In most cases, this process can take a significant amount of time, and you should factor this into your decision-making as you plan your visa pathway (particularly if you are applying for a visa with age-based limits).
In addition to visa processing times, you also need to consider how long it will take for other matters related to your application to be completed, such as the likely time to receive an invitation once you have lodged an EOI, skills assessments and English language tests, and State Sponsorship approval, etc.
All of this information is publicly available, and we would recommend that you check this as your plan your application. Processing times also often change periodically, but it is still useful to check this information so that you have an idea of what to expect in this regard.
In conclusion, we note that the above provides an overview only of the types of visa options which are most relevant for applicants seeking to emigrate from South Africa. As you can see, there are a vast array of potential visa programmes that may potentially be available to you, dependent on your personal situation. There are also many alternative ways in which to arrive at your final desired outcome. As noted, you could plan a pathway that achieves permanent residence at the first stage in the process. Or, you might formulate a plan which involves applying for a series of temporary visas (e.g. starting with a student visa, then moving onto a temporary graduate visa and ultimately permanent residence with a skilled visa – keeping in mind that you apply with the correct intention for each visa). The important point to remember is that you need to tailor a pathway that is the right one for you – this will be different for everyone, based on individual circumstances, goals and needs.
Given the highly complex nature of the migration laws, and the fact that every individual case is different, we recommend that you engage a migration agent or immigration lawyer who will be able to provide you with detailed advice about the visa grant requirements and your eligibility to apply, and who will work with you to formulate a plan to achieve your desired outcomes. Being fully informed about the application process and eligibility requirements will help you to select the most appropriate visa pathway based on your individual circumstances, and to avoid unnecessary processing delays or a potential refusal.