Most South African immigrants are Zimbabwean

Most South African immigrants are Zimbabwean.
Most South African immigrants are Zimbabwean.

According to the statistical release P0351.4 by Statistics South Africa: Documented Immigrants in South Africa 2013, Zimbabwe contributes the greatest number of immigrants to South Africa.

In 2013 Zimbabweans were granted 1 939 out of the 6 801 permanent residence permits issued. They also account for 28,5% of all permanent residence permits issued last year.

Although there is currently no data available on asylum seekers and illegal immigrants; the report shows that Zimbabweans accounted for 18 899 temporary residence permits, 18,5 % of the total number of such permits.

The following temporary residence permits were issued to Zimbabweans:

  • Relatives: 16,5%
  • Study: 21,9%
  • Visitors: 28,9%
  • Work: 30,8%

The number of relative’s permits issued to Zimbabweans and Nigerians account for just over a quarter of all relatives visas issued. Zimbabwe and Nigeria also took the rankings for visitor’s visas. Whilst over 50% of all work permits issued were for just Zimbabwe, India, and China. South Africa’s international students are predominantly from fellow African countries with Zimbabweans claiming just over one quarter of all study permits issued in 2013. The report also indicates that Zimbabwe had the highest percentage of children who received permits.  The permits were distributed as follows:

  • Age 0-14: 24,6%
  • Age 15 – 64: 74,5%
  • Age 65 and above: 0,8%

Amongst the recipients from African countries who received temporary residence, Malawi recipients had the highest median age of 34 years followed by Ghana and Nigeria with 32 years each. The youngest recipients were from Angola and Zimbabwe with a median age of 28 years.

Applying for a visa for Immigration to South Africa

  • For partners of South African citizens or residents there is the spousal and life partner options.
  • If you are considering setting up a business in South Africa as an entrepreneur you should read more details on the business visa which requires an investment amount of R5 million rand unless a waiver is granted.
  • If you are joining a relative either first or second kin see her for details on the relative’s visa and relatives permit.
  • International Students, both for schools and further education will need to make an application for a study visa.
  • Retirees can apply for the retired visa for temporary residency or retired permit for permanent residency.
  • Those seeking to work in South African may consider the following:

               o   General work visa’s – those who don’t fit into any of the below categories & have a job offer

               o   Critical skills work visa’s – for those who appear on the critical skills list

               o   Intra-company transfer – if you are moving to South Africa with your international employer

               o   Corporate workers – where your company is in possession of a corporate work visa.


Finding out more about Immigration to South Africa Intergate Immigration have been at the forefront of South African immigration since 2006. We have successful assisted over 6000 individuals and companies with their visa and permit requirements as well as other relocation advice. You can call us on +27 (0) 21 424 2460 (Cape Town) or +27 (0) 11 234 4275 (Johannesburg), email us here or even request a call back.

We also welcome visits to our offices:

Cape Town

Intergate Immigration Service (Pty) Ltd.

Graphic Centre 2nd Floor

199 Loop Street

Cape Town, 8001

South Africa



Intergate Immigration Service (Pty) Ltd.

Block D, 2nd Floor

Edenburg Terraces

348 Rivonia Boulevard

Johannesburg, 2128

South Africa