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Hello everyone,

I have an interesting situation and I would like to get some advice/guidance. My main goal is to move to South Africa to be with my fiance, who is there currently. I wouldn't qualify for temporary residence visa because we aren't married and also cannot prove we have been together for at least 2 years.

I have a great job in the US as a Civil Engineer working for a huge multinational engineering company. My office has allowed me to continue to work from their office remotely from SA. I would be paid in USD, and keep my same pay (which was the goal). My company has an office in the city I am looking to move to in SA. I am not looking to transfer to a position working directly out of an office in SA because I would be paid a lot less for the same work. My home office and the SA office can have an agreement to allow me to work from that office. My company is strongly insisting that I work "legally" thru a work permit, even though I would not be working directly for a company in SA.

My question would be... what work visa would be the right fit for me?

Would I qualify for a Critical Skills visa? I would like a little more guidance on this. My occupation is listed as a Critical Skill. I understand that you need 5 years of experience for this visa, and I only have 4 years. Is it possible to obtain this type of visa with less than 5 years experience? Can I manage to get this visa with my current work situation?

If I don't qualify for a Critical Skills visa, would I qualify for an Intra-Company Transfer visa? I don't necessarily have an offer of employment from the SA office, but could I use something like an inter-office contract or a letter from the SA office that would satisfy the requirements? How would the Dept of Labour verify all of their requirements? This is an option, but it would only give me 2 years in SA.

Another thing... I would like to get married and then get a temporary residence visa. I understand that I must apply for that visa in the US. Because I have read that this visa can take a while, can I remain in SA working while waiting for that visa to get approved?

Thanks for your help!!!
 

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Hi Sharrisiu,

Your experience and qualifications render you eligible for a critical skills visa, which would be the ideal route for you to go, my only concern relates to the “inter-office contract or a letter” you’ve described. In order to qualify for the critical skills visa, your employer needs to be a South African company. So I suspect it would come down to the particulars of the arrangement between the company branches, and whether the SA branch will be identified as your employer. If the contract indicates that the US branch is your employer, then you’d need to opt for the Intra-company transfer (ICT) visa. When you’re ready to change to a spousal visa, you’d need to return to the USA and lodge the application from there. Your ICT does not fall away once the spousal visa application is made, so you’re allowed to travel at your own leisure, and can continue working in SA while awaiting the outcome. Please note that ICTs can be extended to four years from within South Africa.
 
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