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Expat Business Info Johannesburg

The dream of working in the economic heart of the powerful Gauteng province not only attracts other South African citizens but working in Johannesburg can also be a wise career step for expatriates! Our guide gives you a quick overview of Joburg’s economy and how to go about doing your part.
The mining industry is still of large importance for the city, although gold is mainly mined elsewhere.

As we have already highlighted in part one of this article, the demand for qualified personnel from abroad is high in all of South Africa, and Johannesburg, as a large business hub, is no exception. To look for jobs, a good idea is to use one of the many  South African job portals — a quick internet search will often yield plenty of results. Alternatively, if your company has offices or sister companies in Johannesburg, you might be eligible for a transfer.

Once you have found a company that is interested in hiring you, you should look into the matter of acquiring a work visa for South Africa. We have listed a number of expat-relevant visas in our article on moving to Johannesburg.

Expat Taxation

Once you have found an employer and secured your visa you will need to start paying tax. The system under which you will be taxed is relatively straightforward and not unlike those in many other expat hotspots. In South Africa, every resident has to pay income tax. Expatriates are treated as residents in the context of taxation, if they have spent at least 91 days in a given tax year in South Africa. You are also required to pay taxes if you are present for less than 183 days per year, but more than 91 days for six years in a row.

The tax year begins on the first of March. The tax you owe is calculated based on a system of income levels. Income below 195,850 ZAR per year is taxed at a flat rate of 18 percent. Everything exceeding this lower threshold is divided up into six income levels which are taxed a fixed sum plus a percentage of the amount you earn in excess of 195,850 ZAR.

The South African Revenue Service offers a comprehensive website covering every possible aspect of taxation in detail, should you have any tax related queries. Alternatively, instead of stressing yourself over this aspect of working abroad, there are many tax advisory services available. For a reliable recommendation, a good option is to ask other expats in Johannesburg.

Social Security Contributions

Social security contributions are the second notable deduction from your paycheck, albeit a fairly small one, as the South African government and employers are the main contributors to the social security scheme. In fact, one percent of your paycheck is subtracted from your monthly earnings by your employer and is directed into the unemployment fund. The monthly maximum of contributions you will have to pay is currently capped at around 148 ZAR. However, as social security services are mostly limited to citizens and permanent residents of South Africa — with only very few social security agreements between South Africa and other nations existing — you will most likely not benefit from your contributions. Nonetheless, the rates are minimal, meaning expat salaries often are able to balance this loss out.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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Claude Maurin

"After I followed my wife to Johannesburg, InterNations and its expat circles helped me find free-lance work with South African clients. "

Rikke Johansen

"The InterNations community is just so large that you can easily find a like-minded expat sharing professional or personal interests."

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