South Africa has a fairly high unemployment rate but if you are a foreigner looking to work in S.A. then you may not experience as much of a difficulty if you have a degree and a work permit. The skills shortage in South Africa has seen a growing expatriate population enjoying some of the high paying work opportunities in the country. However many foreigners illegally enter South Africa from neighbouring African countries like Zimbabwe only to realise that unskilled work opportunities are not that plentiful.
The shortage of professionals in all sectors of industry is due to the ‘brain drain’ as many South Africans leave the country due to the crime or for better jobs overseas. This has opened many work opportunities for foreigners looking at settling in South Africa. While every sector of the South African economy is looking for skilled professionals, the medical and engineering fields are still the biggest employers of foreigners looking to work in South Africa.
Despite being a developing country, South Africa has strict regulations for those who wish to work in the country. The process you would have to follow for working in South Africa is fairly similar to those in developed countries. A work permit is essential and you will have to apply for one from the Department of Home Affairs. Having guaranteed employment in South Africa will expedite the entire process but don’t expect it to happen overnight. Alternatively, skilled foreigners can also consider a permanent residence visa which will allow you to live and work in South Africa indefinitely.
Many African and Asian foreigners entering South Africa may lack the qualifications and skills that are in demand. If manual labour or setting up a business within South Africa is something you are considering, then you will find it quite difficult to enter and work within the country. South Africa’s unemployment rate means that a large part of the population is looking for unskilled positions.
Violence in 2009 saw South African unskilled labourers turning on foreigners who were competing for jobs in the country. This xenophobic violence was almost entirely fueled by the lack of employment in South Africa and employers are now cautious about hiring foreigners even for temporary jobs or part time employment.
Foreigners looking to work in South Africa are often the victims of employment scams in South Africa. The promise of official work permits from corrupt officials to labour broker scams, avoid any employment opportunity for foreigners to work in South Africa. Most reputable employers are unenthusiastic about hiring foreigners unless you have a tertiary qualification and scarce skills. You may be opening yourself up to disappointment and criminal activities by grabbing opportunities for a job in South Africa which often seems too good to be true.