I applied for a Work Permit in South Africa three times. I have been rejected three times.
Here is my tale which opens in Toronto in December 2016 where I began the process.
My first two permit applications had to be made in person at the South African Consulate in Toronto. My rejection was based on their belief that I could not work in SA as a Sole Proprietor even though I provided documents from SARS (South African Revenue Agency) saying that this is completely legitimate.
When I indicated that I had been able to work as a Sole Proprietor in my previous sojourn in SA, the tables turned on me. I was asked, “How did I obtain this permit???” The polite Canadian replied, “I applied for it and was given the permit.” This raised many questions including a strong inference that bribery had been involved. Although these South Africans work in Canada, they clearly do not understand how Canadians operate!
The lack of knowledge on the part of the SA official or her mis-use of it drove me to tears of frustration and the official coldly told me where there was a receptacle for my used kleenexes. And the SA Consulate, Toronto, is an office so efficiently run that I had to wake the receptionist who was sound asleep at his desk in order to leave the office! No wonder they all work behind bullet proof glass…….
However, the SA official in Toronto did offer me a two year Residency Visa on the spot (normal processing time, 4-6 weeks) to get rid of me. On the second rejection, I accepted the Residency Visa. What is so completely maddening is the arbitrariness of it all. It is the luck of the draw of whom one deals with. I, unfortunately, ended up with the same cranky official on both visits. Appreciate your Canadian bureaucracy. It functions well and fairly.
After these two rejections, I was assured by a private South Africa Immigration Agency that I work with that I could apply for the Work Permit in Joburg once I landed in SA which I did. After waiting almost 12 weeks, I was rejected again on two grounds: proposing to work as a Sole Proprietor and not having registered with SARS even though I has provided proof of the latter.
After this third rejection, the private Immigration Agency was thrilled to learn that I would soon be in Cape Town where they said, “They understand what a Sole Proprietor is.” They would book an appointment for me during my stay in Cape Town with VFS who handles intake of all applications of this sort. I could feel success within my reach.
And they tried. But the VFS computer system has been in a complete meltdown for almost two weeks and one can only book online. As of this writing, the VFS system remains down….this does not give me confidence about the process…..Living and working abroad is not as much fun as travelling abroad.
But let me leave you on a happy note. Here I am in the Drakensberg while on holiday with Glen last month. The country’s bureaucracy may be totally screwed up, but it is one heck of a beautiful place!