Visas and work permits are used by governments to manage the movement of business, holiday, and talent travellers all over the world. Failure to follow the prescribed requirements in obtaining them may result in a delay or even the refusal of the visa or work permit.
The consequences of the delay or refusal of a visa or work permit can have negative personal and organizational impacts, including, among others, difficulty in securing future visas or permits for the applicant, delays, and even penalties for the company for failing to bring the talent needed for emergency repairs. Below are the tried and tested considerations for preparing and filling out visa and work permit applications.
Preparing Visa Applications
The requirements for visa applications are detailed in the immigration regulations of many countries around the world, and they change from time to time depending on the risks respective authorities may have identified.
Additionally, the officials considering visa applications do have the discretion to request any additional information that could aid them in deciding issuance or non-issuance. As a result, preparation is key to a successful visa application. Important considerations include:
Check eligibility for visa purpose
Eligibility is critical, as a visa cannot be issued without one being eligible to obtain it for a particular purpose. For instance, maintaining or repairing equipment may require authorization granted by a department responsible for immigration. The government website may outline these eligibility criteria for a purpose. To ease checking eligibility for a visa or a work permit, companies like Fragomen have a database that travellers can access on a subscription basis to check one’s eligibility for a visa or a work permit. These systems can be a useful tool for maintaining compliance by multinationals and for managing the movement of talent.
Check available method of application
Countries use several methods to ensure that eligible applicants can comply. Some countries use eVisa portals, which allow relevant visas to be issued within a prescribed timeframe. Other countries use Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) to resolve the problem of a lack of diplomatic representation around the world. To limit VOA to only eligible applicants, a pre-authorization process may be required. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Nigeria has such a process.
A proof of pre-authorization must be given to an airline for one to board. The last method of application can include a diplomatic mission or embassy or third-party operators. These institutions take security precautions, and as such, making appointments is critical for visa submission.
Check availability of the appointment system and use it
It is important to check the available appointments and to avail oneself on the day of the submission of the application or the interview by the consular official. In most cases, these appointments are filled quickly. Therefore, it is important to plan overseas trips well in advance and in line with the available dates for handing in the visa.
Pay prescribed fee and keep proof of payment
It is important to ensure that proof of payment for the service is retained as part of the record, as it may be required upon collection of the visa or even during entry to the country to see whether one has the means to sustain themselves.
Avail oneself for an interview for additional information
Availing oneself for an interview is extremely critical to helping the visa officer decide the outcome. This can also include hosts. Of immense importance is ensuring that the numbers provided are correct to ease connection if an interview is required.
Check visa conditions and comply
Once a visa has been issued, visa conditions, including the particulars of the holder, must be checked. If there is a typo, the consulate or the embassy must be informed immediately. Finally, compliance with the visa condition is key to future issuance of the visa.
Preparing Work Permit Applications
Access to the labor market is highly restricted around the world, and a work permit is generally required. Labour testing requirements and registration with professional bodies are some of the considerations worth noting. These considerations are outlined below.
Ensure that the academic qualifications are benchmarked
Academic qualifications are critical and are an indication that one has the credentials to perform a job. Many countries have benchmarking authorities that must be used, and the outcome of their exercise must be included in the applications.
Confirmation of skill is defined as critical
Due to the high demand for certain skills, governments issue critical skills lists regularly to identify skills deemed critical for their economies. The lists are readily available online and must be checked if one’s work permit application falls under those identified as critical. In a case where one skill does not appear in the list, a general category for skilled workers can be considered for work permit applicants.
Registration with a relevant professional body
It is important to ensure that applicants in fields where registration with professional bodies is mandatory do so with local bodies. Registration must be made ahead of time, as proof of it is required for the work permit application.
Obtaining proof of advertisement or waiver from it
In countries where a labour market test is mandatory, proof of it must be included in the application. Where a waiver was granted for such a requirement, it must also be included.
Checking validity of documents
Many supporting documents needed for the work permit have validity. These documents include medical reports, police reports, and radiological reports. Their validity must be checked, and applications must always be made before their expiration. This is to avoid undue costs and delays in procuring them in an emergency.
Comply with work permit conditions
Like with visas, compliance with visa conditions is critical, and the same applies to even the expiration of the permit. It is important to note that Fragomen assists employers in checking compliance with visa conditions like transfer of skills by monitoring their implementation. Additionally, using its proprietary system, Connect, Fragomen can provide clients with regular expiration trackers until the permit expires. This enables permit holders to be compliant and their employers to continue to be good corporate citizens.
The importance of preparing and filling out fully compliant visa and permit applications cannot be taken lightly. Among other points, it saves time and costs and enables the visa and permit holders and the employer to meet their clients’ needs. Finally, it goes a long way toward ensuring that the companies maintain their global competitiveness.
For further analysis on the African immigration landscape, please contact:
- Johannes Tiba, Senior Manager, Fragomen: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the leading exclusive immigration services provider in Sub-Saharan Africa, Fragomen in Johannesburg employs many of the most talented and experienced immigration professionals in the region. Fragomen in Johannesburg brings our international firm’s values and resources to bear within South Africa’s challenging and evolving immigration environment.