Between slow economic growth, spiking unemployment rates, massive layoffs, lukewarm private sector activity, and internal political squabbles, South Africa is not having the best of times at the moment. And as if that is not enough, the country is currently witnessing a mass exodus of its professionals who appear to be fleeing the country in search of greener pastures abroad.
Last week, it was reported that qualified teachers are moving away from South Africa due to poor working conditions. But in truth, the situation is actually much worse. Teachers aren’t the only ones leaving South Africa. As a matter of fact, all kinds of skilled professionals are exploring options abroad.
There has been a major increase in skilled professionals leaving the country as South Africa faces continued uncertainty. Speaking to eNCA, Sable International’s Andrew Rissik said that people are leaving for many reasons – with two of the biggest reasons being economic uncertainty and crime.
“We are looking at around 25,000 skilled people leaving South Africa each year, with around 1,000 – 2,000 of these people also being very wealthy people who are able to buy their way into other countries.”
“These are potentially very high-quality taxpayers that South Africa is losing,” said Rissik.
On average, this means that South Africa is losing 68 skilled people, and between two and five ultra-wealthy South Africans every day to permanent emigration.
“What we see is that a lot of people with young children tend to start getting pulled back to South Africa because of family links.
“Although we have seen this (trend) slow compared to the past decade because of the economic situation in South Africa as we know it – it’s really pretty negative at the moment.”
Rissik added that as long as these ‘push factors’ are present, people will continue to leave.
Although South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs does not keep track of people who relocate from the country permanently, immigrant data from the receiving countries does provide insight into how many people are actually leaving. And looking at the data, it appears South Africa’s loss is the gain of the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, mostly.
As per the latest data from Stats NZ, there has been a sharp rise in South African migrants, with 8,200 people moving to the country between April 2018 and April 2019.
Australia, on their part, welcomed a total of 5,397 South Africans during the 2016/17 time period and 2,907 South Africans over the 2017/2018 period
At the turn of the year, the UK’s Office for National Statistics communicated to City Press that 7,300 South Africans emigrated to the UK in 2017. And this trend may continue as South Africa continues to be fraught with economic, political, and security concerns.