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Thousands of South African health workers and educators packed their bags for Australia

The second wave of the South African brain drain to Australia seems to be picking up. New statistics show that the country is losing thousands of professionals in healthcare, education, technology, engineering, to name only a few professions, to Australia.

Thousands Of South African Health Workers And Educators Packed Their Bags For Australia

Official statistical information dating back to Australia’s 2011 census noted that approximately 145,683 South Africans were living in the country – 8th behind the UK, New Zealand, China, India, Italy, Vietnam, and the Philippines. While this year’s figures noted that as many as 178,700 Saffas were now calling Australia home. This is an increase of more 33,000 migrants to Australia from South Africa in 5 years. South Africans represent 0.8% of the total Australian population.


The 2011 census data showed that 63% of South Africans in Australia were employed in either a skilled managerial, professional or trade occupation. The corresponding rate in the total Australian population was 48.4%.

The City Press reported that, based on information supplied by South African based immigration officials showed a jump in the number of South Africans relocating to Australia in January 2015 and same phenomenon occurred in July and December of the same year. This coincided with the controversial firing of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene by the South Africa government which was followed by the volatility of the local currency.

According to immigration professionals the number of visa assessments processed in July and December 2015 were 67% higher than the number processed in July and December 2014. This increased trend continued through to January and February this year.

Visa applicants cited their main reasons for applying for immigration as concerns over the physical welfare and security in South Africa while government corruption and a lack of future job prospects were also influencing their decision to jump ship. The 2015 load shedding crisis is also seen to have contributed to the exodus.

Top 10 occupations for South African men and women living in Australia – based on information supplied by Immigration professionals:

Occupation South African men

1 Specialist managers 6 710
2 Business, human resource and marketing professionals 4 920
3 Design, engineering, science and transport professionals 3 640
4 Automotive and engineering trade workers 3 230
5 ICT professionals 2 430
6 Health professionals 2 260
7 Electro-technology and telecoms trade workers 2 150
8 Hospitality, retail and service managers 1 990
9 Engineering, ICT and science technicians 1 900
10 Sales assistants and salespeople 1 540

Occupation South African women

1 Health professionals 4 550
2 Education professionals 3 890
3 Business, human resource and marketing professionals 3 540
4 Numerical clerks 2 760
5 Specialist managers 2 430
6 Sales assistants and salespeople 2 220
7 Carers and aides 2 150
8 General clerical workers 2 090
9 Office managers and programme admins 1 840
10 Inquiry clerks and receptionists 1 500

A more recent report by the Australian government showed that the top 10 skills of South Africans immigrating to Australia through the country’s permanent Migration Programme in 2014–15 were as follows:


Software and applications programmers
Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers
ICT business and systems analysts
Industrial, mechanical and production engineers
Secondary school teachers
Other engineering professionals
Metal fitters and machinists
Computer network professionals

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