Emigration experts have pointed to a growing number of South Africans leaving the country, following the recent political and economic turmoil.
According to StatsSA’s Community Survey 2016, approximately 102,793 people left the country in the 10 years from 2006 to 2016. The highest proportion of emigrants moved to Australia at 26.0% followed by United Kingdom and United States at 25.0% and 13.4% respectively.
This has been reflected in a growing emigrant population in these countries, but just how many South Africans are currently living in the United Kingdom, Australia and the USA?
According to the UK’s 2001 national census, 140,201 people born in South Africa were living in the country – a rise of 106% from 1991, representing 0.25% of the population. 32% of these South African-born people were recorded in London.
This number had risen to roughly 221,000 South Africans living in the UK according to a 2014 Office for National Statistics report. However when factoring in the most recent StatsSA data this number is likely to have passed the 230,000 mark in 2017.
While the number of South Africans moving to the UK is likely to increase, the country has seen has seen a dramatic fall in net migration between 2015 and 2016, mostly due to the number of EU citizens leaving the country after the Brexit referendum, according to the ONS.
These departing EU skilled workers are leaving spots open for skilled workers from other countries, according to emigration specialist John Dunn at Sable International, but will mean the UK will have to face a significant shift in their labour force.
While the United Kingdom saw a notable decline in the number of South African immigrants, there has been an big jump in the number of South Africans who have emigrated to Australia in the past few years, according to the most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
According to its 2016 report, as at June 2015, as many as 178,700 South Africans were living in Australia, up more than 33,000 (from 145,683) people from the 2011 data, and representing 0.8% of the total population.
It should be noted that recent reforms in the Australia and New Zealand could see a drop in the emigration numbers within the coming years.
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.
The new requirements to gain citizenship into the country will now require candidates to be permanent residents for at least four years (as opposed to the previous one-year requirement). In addition applicants must be competent English speakers, must show a job record and prove they have integrated into the local community.