What to consider when applying for a work permit?


Tasia Brummer | Expatriate Operations Manager | Xpatweb | mail me

Following a shift towards global recruitment processes, many South Africans have succumbed to the lustre of opportunities that lie in wait in foreign countries.

Eager to find international career advancement, or simply to earn a foreign salary, they put their skills and qualifications on the line and begin applying for work overseas. Once successful, they are faced with the conundrum of a work permit.

In applying for a work permit, you could encounter unforeseen challenges. Here are some work permit tips to help you on your journey.

Understanding the relevant work permit

It is vital to have full understanding of the permit you are applying for. Changes to work permits could create a possible snare for you in the host country. It could also complicate the relationship with your foreign employer and put you right back where you started, with less money in your pocket.

If your employer does not assist in the work permit application, then carefully research the different work permits available to you before submitting your documentation. Be sure to weigh up the requirements and the benefits of each permit.

For instance, if you work for a business expanding a global footprint and apply for an intracompany transfer to assist with their expansion plans, then you could qualify for a special project visa, which is valid for shorter periods and usually easier to apply for.

Travel arrangements

Do not make travel arrangements until the work permit has been issued. There are too many tales of stranded expatriates, or their families, who were denied entry into a country because of a minor detail, like a missing document or incorrect information on a work permit. This can become very expensive and put your employment contract at risk.

Consult an accredited visa or permit services provider, as well as a professional travel agency, when finalising your work permit application.

The two components of work and travel should complement each other and be managed accordingly, not leave you bidding your family farewell at the airport gates.

The work permit application process

Most countries require that foreign job applications and work permit applications be submitted at the embassy or consulate of the applicant’s home country.

While this is not always the case, it is important to understand what is required from you during the application process. Your age, immigration status, skills and qualifications, even the country you reside in, could contribute to the decision-making process when applying for a work permit.

Questions to ask when applying for a work permit:

  • Does the work permit make allowance for my spouse to accompany me?
  • How long is the work permit valid for?
  • Are my skills/qualifications listed as critical skills in the host country?
  • What other limitations/restrictions are included in the work permit?
  • Will my new employers reimburse the costs of applying for the work permit?
  • What documentation will be required for the application?

In conclusion

Because immigration laws vary from country to country, requirements for work permits also vary depending on the country you are applying to work in.

Unless you have ample experience with work and visa applications, it is always better to rope in the help of an established immigration specialist who can answer the more pertinent questions.

With a team of experts on hand, we provide a turnkey solution to professional expatriates applying for work permits or visas in foreign countries. It is our mission to eliminate concerns before they arise.



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