Emigration warning for South Africa – these skills are heading for the exit

 ·17 Jun 2024

An Immigration expert has noted that thousands of South African businesses, trades, IT specialists, and other professionals are following healthcare workers out the door—citing pay, unemployment, and political uncertainty as the main drivers.

Canadian immigration consultant Nicholas Avramis from Beaver Immigration told BusinessTech that the number of South African professionals seeking to move abroad has increased noticeably.

He stated that his offices have seen a 31% rise in the processing of Canadian work permit applications from South Africans.

By the end of 2023, over 4,000 immigration applications had been processed, more than 1,000 compared to the previous year.

Additionally, his offices have received approximately 17,000 inquiries from South Africans looking to move from January 2023 to date.

Canada’s official statistics office reports that 14,205 South Africans have been granted permanent residence in the country since 2015.

The number of local residents leaving the country has been increasing each year, and Avramis mentioned that most applications are from healthcare workers, followed by tradespeople, business owners, and information technology (IT) professionals.

Nicholas Avramis from Beaver Immigration

Avramis said Beaver Immigration receives approximately 20 emails daily from South African doctors, nurses, and caregivers.

“It should be noted that these healthcare professionals are also looking at other jurisdictions, such as Cyprus, UAE and Qatar, for work.

“There is a shortage of qualified and English-speaking healthcare professionals, and South Africans top the list,” said Avramis.

Despite the notable number of healthcare workers, he added that the consultancy receives inquiries from almost every type of professional or trade worker in South Africa.

The most common are from IT workers and French speakers, as there is a demand for bilingualism in Canada,” he said.

He also mentioned a significant increase in the number of business owners interested in relocating their businesses to Canada, often through the start-up visa program.

Inter-company transfers, where employees move within multinational companies, are also popular, with many individuals taking the opportunity to bring their families along.

Avramis highlighted Canada’s appeal to South African business professionals due to its recognition of major local university qualifications. Additionally, the similar spoken languages and lifestyles are major attractions for them.

Commenting on why these professionals want to leave South Africa, Avramis noted several reasons he receives through everyday consultations.

The first is political uncertainty and bureaucracy in the system.

A notable example is the recent passing of the National Healthcare Insurance (NHI) Bill, which is the primary driver for most healthcare workers.

Other reasons include stagnant salaries and a lack of pay, while others, like young doctors or nurses, cannot even find jobs.

Unfortunately, Avramis said this trend of South Africans exiting the country is expected to continue amid high unemployment and poor economic growth.

Read: One of South Africa’s biggest employers haemorrhaged 500,000 jobs

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