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The updated list of critical skills needed in South Africa right now


The opposition Democratic Alliance will submit an advisory note to Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi highlighting deficiencies in the country’s critical skills list and how it can be improved to match South Africa’s current development needs.

The department published its latest critical skills list for South Africa in February 2022 outlining the jobs which are in short supply in the country. While the list has largely been welcomed, the DA said that there are several notable omissions – including medical professionals.

“Not only does South Africa have a skills shortage in the health professions, but the country also is not training enough doctors and nurses to shorten the health inequality gap,” the party said.

“According to statistics from the South African Nursing Council (SANC), the demographic composition of registered nurses and midwives is currently concentrated in old practitioners with less than a third under the age of 40. When these old practitioners retire, 15 years from now, South Africa could find itself sitting in a nursing skills crisis.”

The DA has also raised concerns about a shortage of maths and science teachers in the country.

“While the critical skills list does provide a pathway for foreign teachers within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field, the explanatory schedules for the list are silent on foreign STEM teachers who were already teaching in schools.

“The media is replete with stories of foreign teachers whose contracts were terminated without notice by Provincial Education Departments in the Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo. These provinces always achieve average Matric outcomes every year, and as such, they cannot afford to lose skilled STEM teachers.”

Official list 

The official list, which was last updated in 2014, has been welcomed with open arms by corporations across South Africa who can now rely on the regulations to help lure foreign professionals.

Foreign nationals may now establish whether their profession is in demand in South Africa and may be eligible to commence a career path in the country provided they fulfil the Act’s criteria. If you currently hold a Critical Skills Work Visa and your skill is no longer listed, you may be unable to renew your visa

Some of the most notable jobs which have been added to the list include:

  • Director (Enterprise /Organisation) Chief Executive Office, Managing Director- NQF 9;
  • Corporate General Manager (medium enterprises or larger) (Master of Business Administration NQF 8;
  • Programme or Project Manager (Master’s Degree (NQF 9);
  • Quality Systems Manager (Master’s Degree (NQF 9) Quality Control Manager Quality Assurance Systems Auditor;
  • Data Scientist Master’s Degree (NQF 9).

A summarised overview of some of the skills in demand can be found in the table below. The complete list can be found in the embedded gazette.

Actuary External auditor Nurse educator
Aeronautical engineer FET phase school teacher (Grades 10-12) Physicist
Agricultural scientist Geologist Policy and planning manager
Architect ICT System Analyst Quantity surveyor
Biotechnologist Industrial engineer Research and development manager
Chemist Investment manager Senior phase school teacher (Grades 8-9)
Chief Information Officer Mechanical engineer Software developer
Civil engineer Metallurgist Systems engineer
Conservation scientist Microbiologist Tax professional
Corporate Treasurer Mineralogist Zoologist
Economist Multimedia designer


Read: Here are the new Covid rules for workers and businesses in South Africa – including mandatory vaccinations



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