It seems the South African ‘Brain Drain’ has not yet come to an end. This is according to the latest StatsSA data which points to the ever increasing number of South Africans who immigrate to Australia every year.
StatsSA’s Community Survey 2016 results show that the highest portion of emigrants packed their bags for Australia in the ten years between 2006 and 2016. That is 26% of the total emigrants who exited South Africa. The survey also revealed that approximately 102,793 people left the country in that period. While Australia was most attractive to South Africans 25% of migrants moved to United Kingdom and 13.4% found a new home in the United States of America.
According to the United Kingdom’s 2014 national census roughly 221,000 South Africans were living in the UK at the time. However when factoring in the most recent StatsSA data this number is likely to have passed the 230,000 mark in 2017.
The StatsSA figures for 2016 report that, as at June 2015, as many as 178,700 South Africans, affectionately referred to as Saffas by the Ozzies, were living in Australia. This means that 33,000 more migrants entered Australia since the previous 2011 report was published. This brings the percentage of South Africans living in Australia to 0.8% of the country’s total population. In the year since the last survey the figure is likely to have risen closer to the 200 000 mark.
In April 2017, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that he will be abolish the country’s popular temporary work visa system and increase the standards of its citizenship test, in an effort to promote “Australia first” values.
Australia recently introduced tougher new entry and citizenship requirements which have made it harder for migrants to qualify for residency and citizenship but it has not deterred committed South Africans from chasing better opportunities. While the new requirements include a number of changes South Africans typically seem to be unaffected by these changes. South African’s who immigrate to Australia are usually well educated individuals with a strong business acumen and the skills and experience Australia needs.
Other changes include tougher English Language Proficiency requirements, holding permanent residency status for a minimum of four years (as opposed to the previous one-year requirement) and a job record proving the application of your skills and being able to show evidence of your involvement and integration into the local Australian community.