An Exchange Visa as provided for in Section 22(b) of the Immigration Act may be issued to a foreign national who is under the age of 25 years, provided he/she has an offer of employment from an employer in South Africa for a period which does not exceed 12 months.
An Exchange Visa issued in this context is not the same as a work visa; however, both visa categories allow for work and employment. An Exchange Visa application attracts considerably less supporting documents as opposed to those required in support of a work visa application and no labour market test or specific qualifications and/or skills and experience need to be proved.
In addition to other requirements, the employer offering the fixed-term employment to the foreign national will have to provide for their welfare and needs whilst they are in South Africa. The sponsoring employer has a legal obligation to notify the DHA, should the foreign national fail to comply with the terms and conditions of his/her visa.
The Exchange Visa holder is only authorised to work for sponsoring employer. The Exchange Visa is not extendable or renewable beyond 12 months. The foreign national may also not apply for a Permanent Residence Permit within a period of 2 years from the expiry of their Exchange Visa. This restriction may, however, be waived by the DHA in certain circumstances, at its discretion.