Can spouses and life partners work in South Africa?

Can spouses and life partners work in South Africa?One of the most common questions we get asked is whether a spouse or life partner of a South African citizen or permanent resident can work in South Africa. After all, many foreigners coming to South Africa would like to earn an income to help support their families.

As a permanent resident, with a permanent permit, you are free to work, start a business or even study in South Africa. You don’t need any special permits to do so.

While you’re still in South Africa on a temporary visa, however, you would need an endorsement in order to work, start a business or study. Endorsements are relatively easy to obtain, so you should be able to embark on your new journey not too long after your search for employment has begun.

For more information on the requirements around endorsements for temporary residents on spousal visas, please continue reading.

Working as a spouse or life partner

Many countries allow foreign immigrants to take up work based on the fact that their spouse or life partner is from the country in question. This is not the case in South Africa. Spouses or life partners of South Africans must obtain temporary residence and an endorsement in order to work in the country:

  • Foreigners can only apply for an endorsement once they have a job offer.
  • An endorsement is specific to that employer. A change of employer would mean applying for a new endorsement.

Here is some fantastic news – obtaining an endorsement is much easier than obtaining a work permit. With an endorsement there is no need for the employer to prove that a South African could not be found to fill the position. This makes it much easier on the prospective employer and it gives the foreign immigrant a greater chance of securing a job.

Owning and running a business as a spouse or life partner

Immigrants in possession of a temporary South African spousal or life partner visa can start or buy into a business. Again, this is subject to the person having an endorsement.

For an endorsement application to be successful, the applicant must be able to substantiate that an entity exists under which the business can run. This could be, for instance, a Pty Ltd organisation.

Obtaining an endorsement for a life partner or spouse is very different to applying for a business visa. All the requirements in terms of capital input, amount of South African employers and submitting a business plan fall away.

Studying as a spouse or life partner

Spouses and life partners are free to study in South Africa, provided they are temporary residents and have obtained an endorsement. Immigrants can’t start their studies without either.

Contact Intergate Immigration today

To find out more about how to obtain endorsements, call Intergate Immigration to speak to one of our experience client managers. You can reach us at +27 (0) 21 424 2460.

If you’d like us to contact you instead of the other way around, simply complete our free online assessment or request a call back. In the meantime, have a look at our spousal and life partner pages to see how to apply for a spousal or life partner visa for South Africa.


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