How to find work for South Africans abroad

work for South Africans abroad

Sharing is caring!

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Looking for ways to find work for South Africans abroad? Working overseas gives you an opportunity to expand your skills and gain experience in a different cultural environment. 

This opportunity to work abroad can be life-changing and if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend that you go for it! Moving abroad can be extremely hard, it’s not easy to just pack up and go, especially with a South African passport

This guide for finding jobs abroad for South Africans will come in handy!

Things to know before looking for jobs abroad for South Africans

Visa and Work Permits

South Africans looking for jobs overseas need to understand that companies abroad may require you to obtain a work permit or visa to work or even apply for a job with them.

You also need to keep in mind that your prospective employer needs to agree to sponsor you before you can receive a work permit or visa. It’s also possible to find jobs abroad that hire foreigners but the company isn’t offering you a work visa. 

If a company wants you to work for them but won’t sponsor your visa then this company is probably not the right employer for you.

You need to choose an employer who will help you navigate the changes. Try to negotiate and ensure you get a nice relocation package and that your compensation covers the new cost of living. This might not always be possible especially if you don’t have work experience, but the least any company can do is help you get a visa to work legally in your new home country.

Localize your Resume

As with any job, it’s important to tailor your resume to match the job you’re applying for. Refer to the job posting and when applicable, use the keywords used in the job description. It’s also important to abide by the country’s resume standards and expectations.

For example, some countries may prefer a summarized, one resume, over a longer, more detailed document. Your resume needs to reflect not only the job you’re applying for but also the company and cultural environment. In some countries, you need to include your photo on the first page of your resume, while 

Cost of living abroad

When you move abroad you need to be able to support yourself until your first paycheck. Firstly, you will need money for transportation, flights from South Africa to most countries abroad start at about $300 – $2000 depending on where you are going.

When you arrive in your new home, you’ll need a place to live and enough money for food, transport to work, and basic survival until your first pay check.

For example, while in some countries you need to pay a deposit and first month’s rent, places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi require 12 months’ rent upfront.

You Must File Taxes with SARS

Understanding Banking 

You need to research how to set up an account abroad. Look into local banks’ minimums, timing on transfers, fees and online capabilities. I’ve shared many finance tips like the best banks for digital nomads, and best travel credit cards for South Africas.

Personally, setting up a bank account in the US was easy and similar to the process in South Africa. Ireland was such a complicated process – firstly, you can only open an account with an Irish proof of residence, which you won’t have till you get your first bill and it also took over a week to get my bank card, because their banks only send cards to your home via post for security instead of giving you an ATM card immediately after you open the account. Banks also only open at certain times, it was just frustrating for me. 

Pack Lightly

You honestly don’t need more than one suitcase. You will end up buying so much stuff and not using any of the things you carried all the way with you to your new country.

Where to find jobs for South Africans in Australia

These are popular websites to find job opportunities in Australia:

How to find jobs for South Africans in Canada

These are popular websites to find jobs for South Africans in Canada:

Where to find work for South Africans in Ireland

Moving to Ireland from South Africa was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I enjoyed living in Ireland more than living in the US. If you are seeking a job that requires qualifications, you will need to provide proof.

One thing to keep in mind while searching for jobs for South Africans in Ireland is that degrees from most Western countries are usually considered equivalent to Irish qualifications, while qualifications from South Africa will be considered based on the institution. 

When applying work for in Ireland as a South African, you might be asked to provide a qualification recognition certificate in order to provide evidence that your credentials are formally recognized in Ireland. To apply for this certificate, contact Qualifications Recognition Ireland.

There are many South Africans working in Ireland, the country is similar to South Africa and you won’t have a hard time adjusting to the people and way of doing things. However, their weather is miserably cold

These are popular websites to find job opportunities for South Africans in Ireland:

Jobs for South Africans in the UK

The UK is one of the most popular countries for South Africans moving abroad.

Expat jobs for South Africans

work for south Africans abroad

There are many expat jobs for South Africans who don’t have work experience, qualifications, and a lot of money to relocate permanently. While most of these work opportunities are don’t offer residency, it is a great start to your journey of living and working in a different country.


An au pair (plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, aupairs look after children and assist with housework like cleaning, laundry & ironing. Aupairs live with the host family therefore they don’t pay for food and accommodation. Aupairs also receive a weekly “wage”.

You sign up with an Aupair agency in your home country, and they will pair you with a family of your choice. The agency will need a membership fee, your medical records, child care, and character references, and a police clearance certificate from you. After matching with a family, the agency assists you with your visa application and the family pays for your return flights.

Au pairs in America usually make about $200 a week and in Europe, you receive a minimum of €50 to €1000 a week, depending on the country and family.

This list of Aupair Abroad agencies in South Africa is a great place to get you started:

  • Cultural Care: www.culturalcare.co.za
  • YDP: www.ydp.co.za
  • OVC: www.ovc.co.za

Alternatively, you can make use of a free listing website like Aupair.com or Aupairworld.com to find a family in need of an Aupair. With these websites, you create a profile and find your own family. It’s free but not 100% safe. If you plan on making use of a free Aupair listing website:

  1. Don’t send any money to “secure ” a job.
  2. Always Skype/Facetime with the host family at least 5 times.
  3. Ask many questions like if they’ve had an Aupair before and if you can speak to him/her for a reference.
  4. Ask for the host families’ home address and search for them on Google Earth.
  5. Google the family – Check their social media accounts.
  6. Have a work contract: with information about your duties, wage, days off, etc.
  7. Be very cautious and wary of families who bad-mouth previous aupairs or those who’ve had too many new aupairs in a short period of time.

I highly recommend making use of an agency if it’s your first Aupair abroad job. Read about my friend Mary’s experience as an Aupair and how she got to travel the world as an Aupair.

Teach English Abroad as South Africa

English teachers are in high demand in foreign-language countries like Turkey, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea. This is one of the best industries to find work for South Africans abroad.

Most English teaching jobs abroad require any Bachelor’s Degree from a native English speaker or a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.

These certificates can be obtained through online courses or you can sign up for in-class programs.

Here are some useful websites:

  • Wits Language School: www.witslanguageschool.com
  • i-to-i TEFL: www.i-to-i.com (online school)

Cabin Crew Jobs for South Africans

Working in the clouds, partying it up in different cities, experiencing different cultures, discounted airline tickets & hotels. But it’s hard work too. The training is tough, the hours are long, and all the moving around can get lonely. However, for those with a case of wanderlust, it can help you travel the world.

Where to find cabin crew work opportunities:

Cruise Jobs for South Africans

You get to see the world from an ocean perspective plus you make good money and live rent-free. I have two friends who do this. For specialized jobs such as chefs or working in the spa, you will need a qualification.

If you don’t have any experience you can work as a stewardess, which involves cleaning as well as serving food and looking after the guests or a nanny looking after kids who are on these cruises. Salaries are tax-free and you can make up to $2000 a month.

How to find cruise jobs abroad for South Africans:

Volunteer Abroad

Are you passionate about helping children in need or planting trees and saving animals? This might be the job for you! Keep in mind that most volunteer programs don’t pay and you are required to pay a joining fee that covers your food and accommodation.

Useful resources for South Africans who want to volunteer abroad:

  • International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) offers affordable and responsibly-run volunteer abroad programs that enable you to make a sustainable contribution to projects in more than 40 countries. : www.volunteerhq.org
  • ISV: International Volunteer Abroad Programs for Students: isvolunteers.org
  • Green Peace Africa: www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Volunteer/
  • The International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA): volunteerinternational.org
  • UNESCO World Heritage Volunteer Programme whvolunteers.org
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: gatesfoundation.org
  • WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). They offer travelers a free stay in exchange for help on farms + you get paid. More info HERE

If you need more information about living in a new city/country. I’ve shared my ex-pat guides that include how to find a place to live, the cost of living, the best bank, and how to network and make new friends in Istanbul, Bali, Dublin, and New York.

Download my Expat Guides HERE

Travel Insurance for South African Expats

Use travel insurance while living abroad so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do around the world, and it’s best to have peace of mind while driving, hiking, and trying some of the best food in the world.

Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance Review.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a booking after clicking on a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!


  • Lerato B
    04/08/2016 at 4:06 AM

    Good Luck ☺

  • Melissa Adams
    04/05/2016 at 6:38 AM

    I contacted OVC. I have my interview next week. So nervous

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!