Upcoming Brexit could make it easier for South Africans to emigrate to the UK

The number of people moving to the UK from EU countries has fallen to its lowest level in four years.

This is according to new Office for National Statistics released on Monday, which showed that that just 101,000 EU citizens came to the country in 2017, reports The Guardian.

The data shows that while net migration continues to add to the UK population, the figure is down from record highs recorded in 2015 and early 2016.

While fewer EU citizens are looking to move to the UK, the report noted that net migration from countries outside the EU rose to 227,000 – the highest level since September 2010.

Speaking to Traveller24, immigration experts Breytenbachs said that the complex implications of Brexit meant that the UK Government is increasingly trying to get skilled and highly skilled workers to the UK to fill gaps in its labor market.

As a result, a relaxation in immigration rules will probably continue with Brexit looming, it said.

“Latest data also show that the net long-term migration to the UK from the EU in 2017 was at the lowest level since March 2013.

“This slowdown in migration to the UK from the EU, coupled with new relaxed visa opportunities, will be welcome news for South Africans looking for job and business opportunities in the UK,” said Breytenbachs.

Talking to BusinessTech in June, Breytenbachs explained that the United Kingdom has always been a very popular destination for South Africans who decided to move overseas.

“This can probably be found in the fact that it is relatively easy for South Africans to adapt to the English way of life. South African businesses also tend to find their feet relatively easy, and easily adapt to the way business is done,” it said.

“This, together with the fact that there is a large South African community settled in the UK, and the relative ease to commute between the two countries, make the UK a popular immigration destination for South Africans.”

It added that the UK’s Immigration legislation is also not unfriendly towards South Africans looking to move to the UK.

“There are of course many family-related visas with which South Africans with UK or EU ties can move to the UK. This includes the UK Ancestry Visa and the EEA Family Visa. Most South Africans are, however, not lucky enough to have these ties and have to look at other business or work-related visas.”

Read: New UK visa doesn’t require you to have a degree – here’s what you need to know

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Upcoming Brexit could make it easier for South Africans to emigrate to the UK