People under the age of 25 can come to South Africa for social, cultural, or economic exchanges with their home countries. This provides the unique opportunity to experience the South African way of life while gaining additional qualifications or work experience.
Education Exchange Permits
There are a number of student exchange programs run across South Africa, which allow young people to gain qualifications or accreditations within South African institutions before returning home to continue their education or find a job. To take part in these programs, you will need to gain a place on one of the programs, and gain sufficient evidence of your participation to support your application. This involves getting a letter from the Department of Education or the institution in South Africa confirming that they run the program and explaining the nature and duration of the course. The institution has to take complete responsibility for you for the duration of the course and keep records on your attendance and other matters relating to your temporary immigration.
Work Exchange Permits
Some young people prefer to gain work experience in South Africa, as the working population becomes increasingly mobile having international experience on your résumé is a real bonus. As part of your application, you will need a letter from your employer to confirm that you will be paid a salary and your needs will be provided for. The employer will also need to let the Department of Home Affairs know if you do not leave the country after the permit has expired.
How Long do Exchange Permits Last For?
You can only stay in South Africa for up to 12 months on this permit. Once you have left, you will need to wait another 12 months until you can apply for a temporary permit of any sort for South Africa. These exchanges are not intended as an immigration pathway, but rather a way to experience South Africa while South African youths can do the same in your home country. As such, there is no way to extend or change your permit to stay any longer than the original time frame.