In 2013 over 100,000 permits or visa’s were issued by the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa, the vast majority of these to people who were emigrating to South Africa.
The late 1980’s and early 1990’s saw what is often referred to as the ‘brain drain’ years as people left South Africa for pastures new. However in recent years, as South Africa’s exposure to the international community has increased, so has the amount of people now choosing South Africa as an emigration destination.
Why emigrating to South Africa has become popular
There are always push and pull factor for those seeking emigration. The attraction of lifestyle and employment opportunities of the new destination being pull factors and the desire to ‘escape’ from current circumstances, such as economic and political considerations, acting as push factors.
At Intergate Immigration we have assisted over 6,000 individuals with permit or visa applications since our inception in 2005. During this period we have built up a good understanding of the pull factors that make emigrating to South Africa attractive to certain people.
- Lifestyle is nearly always quoted to us. The majestic and diverse scenery that sees South Africa offer mountains, winelands, sandy beaches as well as modern convenience equates to an enviable lifestyle.
- A work to live attitude. Comparable to a push factor that sees individuals wanting to change their life’s from being work centric to family or social centric.
- Climate – an obvious attraction for those from chillier climates is the plentiful South African sunshine months.
Opportunity – many business people and those in certain professions see South Africa as ripe for business and career advancement. The barriers to setting up a business are relatively low and for those working in a critical skill there are excellent employment opportunities.
- Children – many parents are seeking higher education standards and an environment where ‘children can remain children’ for longer periods of time.
- The great outdoors – in conjunction with the weather and the many attractions, South Africa offers emigrants a change from the indoor lifestyle of many of their home countries.
- Cost of living – emigrating to South Africa for many people sees a reduction in expenses. House prices tend to be be affordable (substantially so in some cases) and the general cost of living is amongst the lowest in developed countries.
These are but a few of the attractions for those emigrating to South Africa and the other main one, and obvious one, is the ability for potential emigrants to obtain the required visa or permit to enable them to emigrate.
Options for emigrating to South Africa
South Africa’s new immigration laws, that came into effect in May 2015, were a step forward in ensuring the correct balance of attracting foreigners to emigrate to South Africa whilst protecting local jobs. This is not to say the process is without its frustrations but these exist with most countries Home Affairs offices.
Broadly speaking the options can be broken down into:
Retirement Visa’s and permit – allowing for both temporary and permanent stays South Africa’s retirement visa and permit regulations are extremely attractive compared to most other destinations. It is a financially based criteria with no upper or lower age limit attached to the application.
Business Visa and Permits – applicants under the category will need to demonstrate they have sufficient financial resources to set up the business and that meets the minimum investment criteria of R5 million. In addition there is an obligation to ensure that 60% of the businesses staff are either South African citizens or permanent resident holders.
Relatives Visa and Permits– provision is made for spouses, partners as well as first kin to be able to emigrate to South Africa and join family.
Study Visa’s and Permit’s – not only may foreign students attend studies in South Africa but they are also able to work for up to 20 hours per week.
Work Visa’s – there are a number of work visa options including:
- Intra company transfers for employees being transferred to South Africa by their company.
- Corporate work visa’s where there is a need to a company to recruit a large number of foreigners.
- Critical skills work visa for identified professions that are in short supply from the South African workforce.
- General work visa’s for those foreign employees who do not qualify under any of the above categories.
Some tips about emigrating to South Africa
- South Africa is a wonderful country, but of course if is not for everyone so tip number one is come and see and judge for yourself.
- Emigrating to South Africa is a process, plan well in advance of your intended emigration date and seek professional help where you need it.
- Don’t rush into buying a property if you are unfamiliar with the area (s) – rent and get to know where suits your needs.
- If you have family ensure you take into account things such as schooling, local amenities and security.
Find out more about emigrating to South Africa
As South Africa’s most prominent immigration consultants, we at Intergate are well positioned to provide you with all the advice you need about emigrating to South Africa to make an informed decision.
We offer you the security of being South Africa’s only ISO 9001 immigration consultant and can boast of a track record that is of envy throughout our industry.
Your consultation with us regarding any emigration to South Africa is free and carries no obligation.
Either call us on any of the above numbers or e-mail here.