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

The UK’s office for national statistics has published its latest 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 2020.

The survey shows that country with the largest overseas population is India, with an estimated 847,000 Indian people currently living in the UK.

This is followed by Poland (746,000 people) and Pakistan (519,000 people) who ranked in second and third place respectively.

South Africa is ranked in ninth position, with an estimated 229,000 people currently living in the country.

By comparison, there were 255,000 South Africans living in the UK as at the end of 2019. This means that there has been an effective net decline of 26,000 people.

While this is a significant drop, similar declines were seen for other countries – likely as a result of the pandemic and Brexit regulations.

# Country Total Male Female
1 India 847 000 419 000 428 000
2 Poland 746 000 333 000 412 000
3 Pakistan 519 000 265 000 254 000
4 Romania 370 000 202 000 168 000
5 Republic of Ireland 364 000 168 000 196 000
6 Germany 310 000 135 000 175 000
7 Bangladesh 251 000 128 000 123 000
8 Italy 240 000 129 000 112 000
9 South Africa 229 000 110 000 118 000
10 Nigeria 219 000 108 000 111 000

Despite the ongoing pandemic, immigration changes introduced at the start of 2021 are expected to provide a boost for South Africans looking to move to the UK.

A new points-based immigration system has been introduced as of 1 January 2021. John Dunn, director of citizenship and immigration at Sable International in London, says that the system will rewrite most of the existing immigration routes into the UK.

“Current routes such as the Tier 1, Tier 2, student, new entrants and a bespoke visa group, have all been essentially whittled down and replaced with points-based criteria.”

Dunn said that under the new points-based immigration system, applicants will need at least 70 points to be eligible for a visa.

The changes will also increase the number of jobs on the UK’s skills list, reduce some of the more onerous financial requirements and make it easier for students to enter the country.


Read: The UK will help South Africa fund and develop these 10 projects

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