Here’s how many South Africans have moved to the UK

 ·1 Dec 2019

The UK’s office for national statistics has published new data showing how many foreign nationals are currently living in the country.

The data – which is based on the country’s annual population survey – shows the number of overseas-born people (by country) which live permanently in the UK as of the end of June 2019.

The survey shows that country with the largest overseas population is India, with an estimated 837,000 Indian people currently living in the UK.

This is closely followed by Poland (827,000 people) and Pakistan (533,000 people) who ranked in second and third place respectively.

South Africa was ranked in eighth position, with an estimated 255,000 people currently living in the country.

By comparison, there were 246,000 South Africans living in the UK as at the end of 2018. This means that there has been an effective net gain of 9,000 people.

# Country Total Male Female
1 India 837 000 425 000 412 000
2 Poland 827 000 384 000 442 000
3 Pakistan 533 000 270 000 263 000
4 Romania 434 000 224 000 210 000
5 Republic of Ireland 358 000 159 000 199 000
6 Germany 305 000 137 000 168 000
7 Bangladesh 259 000 135 000 124 000
8 South Africa 255 000 123 000 132 000
9 Italy 246 000 136 000 110 000
10 Nigeria 207 000 106 000 101 000


In October, home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said that South Africans should be given visa-free access to the UK after tightening up security around its passport.

In an October interview, Motsoaledi said that while South African citizens were previously allowed to enter the UK visa-free, this access was revoked after a number of fraudulent incidents.

“Unfortunately something happened some years back where other nationals forged our passports,” he said.

“Since that time we have improved (South Africa’s passport’s security) and we think the UK must now reconsider allowing visa-free access.”

Motsoaledi added that the Department of Home Affairs is working with a number of foreign governments to allow for visa-free access but this does not guarantee reciprocal access for South Africans.

He said that this reciprocity was dependent on a number of factors and was not a ‘straight-line equation’.

“There are a number of considerations when giving a visa. Firstly you consider the sovereignty and security of the (applicant’s) country. Secondly, you consider the developmental needs of your own country.

“Lastly you have to consider the stability and security of people within your own country. You might find that you need people from a country but they don’t need you – you can then insist on reciprocation.”

Read: The UK should stop treating South African travellers like terrorists: Holomisa

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