South African citizens who plan to be out of the country for longer than three months will soon be compelled to register with the government as a means of keeping track of South African abroad and curbing the high emigration rate, according to a report by the Rapport.
This follows cabinet approval of the Department of Home Affairs’ White Paper on international migration, detailing South Africa’s main emigration and immigration targets to be reached by 2063; how the country plans to deal with the flood of immigrants from neighbouring African countries; and policies that would include the free movement of people within the SADC.
This is the first time that emigration control has appeared in Home Affairs policy, according to the report, and is directly attributed to the high number of skilled workers and taxes leaving the country.
According to data published in the white paper, 520,000 South Africans became expats between 1989 and 2003. Of these, 120,000 had professional qualifications, making up over 7% of all of the country’s professionals.
The white paper also noted that these emigration figures have increased by 9% each subsequent year and that a greater number of skilled black South Africans were also choosing to emigrate.
The white paper also highlighted that, around the world, expats typically have strong relationships with their home countries, and that a substantial part of their income is formed from foreign payments.