South Africa plans to start tracking emigration – here’s where people are moving

The South African government plans to change its data collection systems to get a better idea of ​​the number of qualified South Africans leaving the country.

The proposal, which is included in the latest National Labor Migration Policy (NLMP) from the Department of Employment and Labour, notes that the country has experienced a drain of valuable skills in several sectors.

He added that the emigration of skilled South Africans has not been effectively addressed by any specific policy and is a growing problem in some sectors.

Tracking updated data will also provide the government and the public with reliable and up-to-date data on the flows and stocks of highly skilled South Africans employed abroad and on the sectors and occupations particularly affected by the crisis. attrition to emigration or remigration, he said.

Historically, the Department of Home Affairs and Statistics of South Africa has not released information on the number of people emigrating. However, the United Nations maintains data on stock of migrants and where South Africans have emigrated.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ International Migrant Stocks Report 2020, at the end of 2020, 914,901 South Africans were living in other countries and territories, up from 786,554 in 2015.

Three times as many people emigrated from South Africa between 2015 and 2020 – more than 128,000 people – than between 2010 and 2015 (43,000 people), the data shows.

Country of destination Number of emigrants
UK 247,300
Australia 199,700
United States 117,300
New Zealand 73,800
Canada 48 100
Germany 20,400
mozambique 20,200
Zimbabwe 19,700
Netherlands 17,500
Eswatini 12,700

The rich are more likely to leave

The latest FNB Property Barometer for South Africa shows that around 8% of people are selling their homes with the intention of leaving the country. Notably, the data shows that wealthier South Africans – even those in the upper middle income bracket – are more likely to sell to emigrate.

As many as 14% of sellers of houses in the R2.6m to R3.6m price bracket are selling to emigrate, with this figure falling to 11% in the R3.6m price bracket and more. Emigration-related sales increased steadily between 2015 and 2019, rising from 5% of total sales in 2015 to a record 13.4% in the second quarter of 2019.

This number then fell to around 8% in 2021 due to a confluence of factors including international restrictions and a strong real estate market. However, this represents a one percentage point increase from the Q2 2020 report.


Read: Here’s how many qualified South Africans get residency in New Zealand

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