Top jobs in the UK for skilled South African citizens (2024)

Top jobs in the UK for skilled South African citizens (2024)

The United Kingdom usually offers scarce skills opportunities to skilled foreigners as listed on the UK Shortage Occupations List. Foreigners who meet the stipulated requirements can apply for a related work visa. Top jobs in the UK for South African citizens include opportunities in the engineering and healthcare fields.

UK job opportunities for South Africans
South Africans can apply for work listed on the UK Shortage Occupations List. Photo: 10'000 Hours
Source: Getty Images


South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. The youth are the most disadvantaged, as thousands of graduates enter the labour market yearly. The lack of jobs locally necessitates the need for overseas job applications.

Can a South African citizen work in the UK?

Yes. Mzansi citizens with skills needed in the United Kingdom can work in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. You must meet the stipulated work requirements to be allowed in the territory.

How can a South African get a job in the UK?

To get work in the United Kingdom, your job specialization must be on the UK Shortage Occupations List. You can also present a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed UK organization.

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Do South Africans need a work visa for the UK?

Mzansi citizens with valid South African passports must get a UK work visa to work in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland. The UK work visa does not apply to the following groups of people;

  • South Africans visiting the UK for holiday
  • If you are going to the UK for a conference or business
  • If you have partners with UK or EU citizenship
  • South Africans who have parents or grandparents born in the UK or Europe.
Jobs in London for South African citizens
South Africans need a work visa to work in the United Kingdom. Photo: 10'000 Hours
Source: Getty Images

Which jobs are in demand in UK for foreigners?

These are the scarce jobs in the United Kingdom as listed on the UK Shortage Occupations List for skilled worker visas;

Code Scarce skillUK area with shortageAnnual salary (80% of going rate)
1181Health services, public managers and directorsAll 4 UK countries £30,720 (£15.15 per hour)
1242Residential, domiciliary, and day care managers and proprietorsAll 4 UK countries£21,360 (£10.53 per hour)
2111Nuclear industry (Only chemical scientists)Scotland only£21,360 (£10.53 per hour)
2112Biological scientists and biochemistsAll 4 UK countries£23,760 (£11.72 per hour)
2113Physical scientist (including engineering geologist,hydrogeologist, geophysicist, geoscientist, geochemist,technical services manager in the decommissioningof waste areas of the nuclear industry,senior resource geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector)England,Scotland,Wales,Northern Ireland£29,200 (£14.40 per hour)
2114Social and humanities scientists (only archaeologists)All 4 UK countries£20,720 (£10.22 per hour)
2121Civil engineersAll 4 UK countries£28,000 (£13.81 per hour)
2122Mechanical engineersAll 4 UK countries£26,720 (£13.18 per hour)
2123Electrical engineersAll 4 UK countries£29,600 (£14.60 per hour)
2124Electronics engineersAll 4 UK countries£27,760 (£13.69 per hour)
2126Design and development engineersAll 4 UK countries£27,280 (£13.45)
2127Production and process engineersAll 4 UK countries£26,480 (£13.06 per hour)
2129Engineering professionals not classified elsewhereAll 4 UK countries£26,160 (£12.90 per hour)
2135IT business analysts, architects, and systems designersAll 4 UK countries£29,280 (£14.44 per hour)
2136Programmers and software development professionalsAll 4 UK countries£26,640 (£13.14 per hour)
2137Web design and development professionalsAll 4 UK countries£20,800 (£10.26 per hour)
2139Cyber security specialistsAll 4 UK countries£25,440 (£12.54 per hour)
2216VeterinariansAll 4 UK countries£26,000 (£12.82 per hour)
2425Actuaries, economists, and statisticians (Only bio-informaticians and informaticians)All 4 UK countries£26,240 (£12.94 per hour)
2431ArchitectsAll UK countries£28,000 (£13.81 per hour)
2461Quality control and planning engineersAll 4 UK countries£24,400 (£12.03 per hour)
3111Laboratory techniciansAll 4 UK countries£14,560 (£7.18 per hour)
3411ArtistsAll 4 UK countries£16,800 (£8.28 per hour)
3414Dancers and choreographers (Must be skilled classical ballet dancers or skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognized UK ballet or contemporary dance companies.The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognized by a UK industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland or Wales))England,Wales,Scotland,Northern Ireland£23,840 (£11.76 per hour)
3415Musicians (Must be skilled orchestral musicians who are leaders, principals, sub-principals or numbered string positions, and who meet the standard required by internationally recognized UK orchestras.The orchestra must a full member of the Association of British Orchestras)England,Wales,Scotland,Northern Ireland£22,000 (£10.85 per hour)
3416Arts officers, producers and directorsAll 4 UK countries£24,000(£11.83 per hour)
3421Graphic designersAll 4 UK countries£18,800(£9.27 per hour)
5215Welding trades (must be high integrity pipe welders, where the job requires 3 or more years’ related on-the-job experience. This experience must not have been gained through illegal working)England,Wales,Scotland,Northern Ireland£18,240(£8.99 per hour)
6146Senior care workersAll 4 UK countries£13,520 (£6.67 per hour)

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South Africans can also get work in the UK by applying for these scarce skills in the healthcare and education sectors.

Code Scarce skillUK area with shortage
2211Medical practitionersAll 4 UK countries
2212PsychologistsAll 4 UK countries
2213PharmacistsAll 4 UK countries
2217Medical radiographers (All positions including radiotherapy practitioners and technologists)All 4 UK countries
2219Health professional workers not classified elsewhere.All 4 UK countries
2221PhysiotherapistsAll 4 UK countries
2222Occupational therapistsAll 4 UK countries
2223Speech and language therapistsAll 4 UK countries
2231NursesAll 4 UK countries
2314Secondary education teaching professionals(Only for teachers in mathematics, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and modern foreign languages)EnglandWalesScotlandNorthern Ireland
2314Secondary education teaching professionals in GaelicOnly Scotland
2315Primary and nursery education teaching professional (Only for Gaelic medium teachers)Only Scotland
2442Social workersAll 4 UK countries
3213ParamedicsAll 4 UK countries
6141Nursing auxiliaries and assistantsAll 4 UK countries

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What is the Shortage Occupations List?

SOL is a list of jobs in the United Kingdom that local employers struggle to fill, and it is sensible to address the shortages with migrant worker employment. The jobs on the list get special dispensation from the immigration office to ensure employers can easily fill such vacancies with foreign labour. Occupations on the SOC are usually recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and decided by the UK government.

Jobs for South Africans in the UK
Engineering is one of the most sought-after skill in the United Kingdom. Photo: Nitat Termmee
Source: Getty Images

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

It is an electronic certificate that a UK employer assigns to a migrant worker. The CoS has a unique number that the foreign worker uses to apply for a visa within three months. A worker cannot apply for a UK visa more than three months before the start date of the job listed on the CoS.

What are the different types of UK work visas?

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The different types of work visas for the UK include;

Visa typeSignificance
Skilled worker visaYou can stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.
UK start-up visaIf you want to set up an innovative business in the UK that is different from other businesses in the market
UK graduate visaGives applicant permission to live in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK.
UK domestic worker visaIf you are a domestic worker in a private household and have worked for your employer for at least one year.
High potential individual visaYou must have been awarded a qualification by an accredited university in the last five years.Allows you to live in the UK for at least 2 years
International sportsperson visaFor an elite sportsperson or qualified coach with international status
Minister of religion visaIf you have been offered a job opportunity within a faith community in the UK
Youth mobility scheme visaFor youths aged between 18 and 30 who want to live and work in the UK for up to two years.
Frontier worker permitIf you want to work in the UK but stay in another country
Senior/specialty worker visaAllows you to live in the UK for an eligible job at your employer's UK branch.
Expansion worker visaAllows applicant to set up a branch of an overseas business that is yet to start trading in the UK.
Secondment worker visaIf your overseas employer is transferring you to the UK to work for a different organization. The employer must have a high value contract with the UK company.
Service supplier visaIf you have a contract to offer services to a UK company as an employee of an overseas company or as a self-employed professional based overseas
Graduate trainee visaAllows a graduate trainee to stay in the UK to work for their employer in the UK company branch
Innovator visaAllows you to set up an innovative business in the UK.The business must have been endorsed by an approved body
Creative worker visa (Temporary)If you have been offered a job in the UK as a creative worker
Seasonal worker visa (Temporary)Allows you to stay in the UK and work in horticulture for up to six months or poultry from 18th October to 31st December.
International agreement worker visa (Temporary)If you will be contracted to do a job covered by international law or treaty while in the UK
Charity worker visa (Temporary worker)Allows you to do unpaid voluntary work for a charity.
Scale-up worker visaAllows you to stay in the UK and do an eligible job for a fast-growing UK business.

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How do I get a skilled worker visa for the UK from South Africa?

Applications for skilled worker visas from outside the UK are made online. You must also visit a UK visa application centre to prove your identity. Ensure all the relevant documents are processed. Documents needed include CoS, proof of knowledge of English, valid passport, employer details, criminal record certificate, relevant medical papers, and proof of enough savings to support yourself in the UK.

How long does it take to get a UK visa?

UK visa processing times vary with several factors, including the type of visa being applied for and eligibility. The waiting time starts when an applicant submits their application online and attends a biometric appointment and ends when you get a letter or email with a decision. There is also priority processing for certain special applicants, including skilled workers. To fast-track the visa processing time, an additional fee is paid.

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UK work visas
UK visas usually take several months to be processed but special visas like skilled worker visas can be fast-tracked. Photo: Cristian Storto Fotografia
Source: Getty Images

Jobs in the UK for South African citizens offer hope to thousands of local graduates struggling to get employment. Landing UK jobs for South Africans is also an excellent opportunity to earn a decent salary that matches your skill set.

READ ALSO: How much do doctors earn in South Africa: List of highest-paid doctors highlighted the categories of highest-paid doctors in South Africa. The medical profession is a broad industry that deals with different health issues ranging from surgery, optical, dental, gynaecology, and paediatrics.

Generally, surgeons are the highest-paid medical professionals in the country. A heart-plant surgeon takes home about R152,000 pm, while an orthopaedic surgeon earns approximately R148,000 pm.

Source: Briefly News

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