There is often confusion around the correct type of permit or visa that is required by the spouse or life partner of a South African citizen or permanent residency holder to enable them to take up employment, set up and run a business or study.
A good proportion of the immigration services we provide for life partner and spouses originate from a previous application having been done incorrectly or the wrong advice received. Often it is a case of starting from scratch, meaning time delays and extra unnecessary expenses. It is imperative that the application is correct in the first place, otherwise it is an entirely new application with the time delays and costs associated with this.
The links below will provide you with the basic information about endorsements, how they work and professional help in obtaining one:
What is an endorsement?
An endorsement is made to an existing visa or applied for simultaneously. For instance, a life partner moving to South Africa applies for a life partner visa with a work endorsement to enable her to take a job she has been offered. The same would apply if she was looking to set up a business or study.
To get an endorsement you must be the holder of or applying for a spousal or life partner visa.
Can’t spouses and life partners work/ run a business/ study just with their spousal or life partner visa?
Spouses and life partner visa holders are prohibited from carrying out any activity involving work, business or study. The spousal or life partner visa simply means the individual is entitled to stay in South Africa with their South African spouse or life partner.
Is it not easy just to apply for a work/ business or study visa straight away?
The short answer is no – the criteria associated with each of these visas is harder and more restrictive than obtaining an endorsement to a spousal or life partner visa.
What if I already have a spousal or life partner visa?
In this case the application is akin to making a full application again. Whilst this is not an issue, it does mean extra costs. Wherever possible, applications for the life partner visa and spousal visa should be made simultaneously.
If I want to work then what must I do?
To enable a foreign spouse or life partner to work an endorsement must be obtained. Endorsements are job specific, so you will need to get a job offer first. Once you have the job offer the endorsement can be applied for.
As opposed to a general work visa, whereby the employer must prove they have been unsuccessful in their attempts to recruit a South African, the only additional item required (over and above the spousal or life partner requirements) for a work endorsement is the offer of employment and general information from the employer.
If I change job to I have to get a new endorsement?
Yes, the endorsement is job specific.
I am having trouble getting a job because recruitment agencies and companies say I need a work visa – what can I do?
This is a common problem. Immigration can be a complex area and recruitment companies and potential employers do not always understand the regulations around endorsements.
Explaining your situation can help and at Intergate we often telephone future employers to fully explain the scenario. We can also issue our clients with an attachment to their CV that guides potential employers through the situation. Our experience shows this makes a huge difference and removes that ‘put off’ factor.
And if I want to set up a business?
Knowing you wish to start up a business can ease the process as this should facilitate the simultaneous application of your spousal visa or life partner visa with business endorsement. In this instance proof of the company structure/registration must be submitted to Home Affairs for the endorsement to be granted.
And if I want to study?
Again this should facilitate the simultaneous applications; proof that you have been accepted for a suitable course at a tertiary education institution is required.
Where can I get professional help?
Intergate Immigration has a Life Partner and Spousal Department which deals specifically with South Africans and their foreign spouses or life partners.
Contact us today for a free consultation