South Africa
What you need to know about working while on a study visa

What you need to know about working while on a study visa

Like many other students in South Africa, you might want to find a job to help pay for your studies, pay for extra day-to-day needs, or earn a little extra to explore your new city or country.

If you’re in South Africa on a study visa, there are rules that apply when it comes to working and earning an income locally.

How many hours are you allowed to work?

Based on regulation 12(3) of South African Immigration Regulations, if you’re in the country on a study visa, you’re only allowed to work 20 hours a week.

If you work more than 20 hours a week, you’ll need to apply for a work visa. If you’re in South Africa, you can apply for a work visa at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) through a Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Centre.

Do you need to gain practical work experience to complete your studies?

If your studies require you to work to gain practical work experience, you’ll need to apply for permission from the South African DHA. Your study visa will also still need to be valid for the duration of your practical work experience.

You’ll need the following for your application:

  1. A letter of offer from the business or institution where you’ll complete your practical training.
  2. Proof that you’re still a registered student at the educational institution where you’re completing your studies.
  3. Permission to gain practical work experience from the educational institution where you’re completing your studies.

Tip: If you’re a Standard Bank customer, you can reach out to Xpatweb by sending an email to [email protected].

Do working international students need to pay tax?

Paying taxes in South Africa depends on how much you earn in a tax year (also called year of assessment). A year of assessment starts on 1 March and ends on 28/29 February the following year.

There is an income tax threshold and, if you earn below this threshold, you won’t have to pay taxes on your earnings. This tax threshold changes every year of assessment, so it’s important to keep a close eye on tax requirements.

If you start to earn more than the threshold, you’ll be taxed based on a sliding scale. This simply means that the average rate of taxes you’ll pay in South Africa increases as your earnings increase.

It is advised that you stay up to date with South African tax requirements and thresholds for paying taxes by visiting the South African Revenue Service (SARS) website.

Do you earn more than the tax threshold?

If you earn more than the tax threshold, you’ll need to register as a taxpayer in South Africa. Once you’ve been registered, you’ll receive a personal income tax number.

For more information on how to register and the documents you’ll need, visit the SARS website.

Planning on completing your studies in South Africa? Visit our international students page for more information.

Disclaimer: This article is solely intended for information. It does not constitute financial, tax or investment advice or recommendation. Please speak to a financial advisor or registered financial professional before making any financial decision(s).

Standard Bank, its subsidiaries or holding company, or any subsidiary of the holding company and all of its subsidiaries make no warranties or representations (implied or otherwise) as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of the information provided in this article or that it is free from errors or omissions.