The draft critical skills list has been released and is expected to come into force and effect in about April 2019. The list has been significantly shortened and simplified.

Some important categories have been retained or included in the list, but the removal of others is of serious concern, importantly the “Corporate General Manager”, which frequently applied to senior management in business. If you therefore fall into one of the latter categories and a) do not yet have a critical skills visa, b) are due for an extension soon, or c) would like to obtain permanent residence, you should make sure to hand in your application well before April 2019.

Amongst the other changes is – thankfully – the removal of additional requirements not listed in the Immigration Act and Regulations. This means that registration with a professional body will only be required if such registration is required by a law applicable to that particular profession.

The option to obtain a critical skills visa WITHOUT JOB OFFER may be abolished for all categories but STEM (Science, Technology, Economics and Mathematics) Academics and Researchers.

ICT experts: The new wording and structure may cause problems with professional body registration. The draft introduces a requirement for formal “qualifications”, whilst proven “skills” are currently sufficient.

Key changes to the categories (contact our consultants for details):


  • STEM Teacher (Science, Technology, Economics and Mathematics)
  • Medical intern at a public health facility
  • Certain Oil & Gas and Marine professions


  • Corporate General Manager
  • Built Environment: Architect, Construction Project Manager, Land Surveyor, Quantity Surveyor, Urban and Regional Planner
  • Managers in various fields
  • Various Engineering Technologists and technical experts
  • Automotive professions
  • A number of Scientists (although here “not limited to” the categories listed, one may expect challenges in the categories that are not expressly named)
  • All Professionals and Associate Professionals (including various Technicians and Engineering Technicians, Landscape Architect and Horticulturalist)
  • All trades but Double Coded Welder, Millwright and Boilermaker
  • BPO: Business Analyst, Quality Analyst, Quality Assurance Specialist
  • Doctoral graduates (other than STEM fields)
  • Sheep Shearer (understandably)

NOTE that this is a draft only and has not been finalized or implemented. Home Affairs officials have stated that the Department will consult widely before finalizing the list and implementing it in April 2019. Keep checking this newsbox for updates on opportunities to comment on the list.

Contact our IMCOSA consultants for guidance on any necessary action in light of the impending changes.