Emigration on the rise

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Recent data has indicated that more South Africans are emigrating or considering emigration. What is fueling this?

Most of us can recount stories of friends and family emigrating to other countries. Chances are you’ve considered it yourself or are already in the process of doing so. If this is the case, you’re not alone. According to recent statistics and reports, emigration numbers are on the rise.

The reasons for leaving a country vary greatly from place to place and from person to person. In some instances war or civil strife catalyses a mass exodus such as that currently playing out along the Mediterranean. People also leave due to work commitments or better career opportunities. Others simply feel the need to explore new places and meet new people.

Unfortunately, in South Africa’s case, the reasons for leaving largely seems to come down to issues such as load shedding, crime, affirmative action, ongoing militant industrial action, corruption, a general atmosphere of lawlessness and loss of confidence in the government and country as a whole. The desire to obtain a second passport which unlocks more doors internationally and the opportunity to earn a stable, strong currency are also cited by many as reasons for leaving.

Interestingly, according to various emigration agencies and specialists, South Africans of all colours and creeds are opting to leave in search of greener pastures. A case in point is Migration Network Australia which says they are receiving enquiries from highly skilled individuals to those without any qualifications such as receptionists and sales staff.

FNB’s latest Estate Agent survey lends credence to the reported uptick. According to the report, an average of 3.8% of total selling is now being attributed to emigration. While still low overall, the numbers are notably up. It is thought that the recent deterioration in the Consumer Confidence Index to a 14 year low of -15 may be indicative that emigration numbers will increase still further in the near future.

Countries which are routinely at the top of South Africans’ emigration list include the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Up until recently mediocre growth in some of these economies limited career opportunities for South African emigrants. It is thought the high cost of living and property may have been a limiting factor too. If the numbers are anything to go by though, it would seem that South Africans are working round these hurdles.

Emigrating is not a matter to be taken lightly though. Each country has its own list of desirable skills and attributes and its own emigration requirements which are usually very strict. Emigrating also usually entails a significant amount of money and emotional upheaval. As such it’s vital to do your homework before taking such a big step.

Country prices snapshot according to www.numbeo.com:

USA: It currently costs $976 per month to rent a one bedroom apartment in a city centre. The average price to buy an apartment in a city centre currently stands at $2, 170 per square metre. Basic utilities (electricity, heating, water, garbage) for an 85sqm flat average at around $158 per month, a litre of petrol costs $0, 76 and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back around $10, 50.

UK: It currently costs £665 per month to rent a one bedroom apartment in a city centre. The average price to buy an apartment in a city centre currently stands at £3, 132 per square metre. Basic utilities (electricity, heating, water, garbage) for an 85sqm flat average at around £146 per month, a litre of gas costs £1, 17 and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back around £10, 00.

Canada: It currently costs C$1,063 per month to rent a one bedroom apartment in a city centre. The average price to buy an apartment in a city centre currently stands at C$3, 956 per square metre. Basic utilities (electricity, heating, water, garbage) for an 85sqm flat average at around C$159 per month, a litre of gas costs C$1, 16 and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back around C$15, 00.

New Zealand: It currently costs NZ$1,303 per month to rent a one bedroom apartment in a city centre. The average price to buy an apartment in a city centre currently stands at NZ$5, 030 per square metre. Basic utilities (electricity, heating, water, garbage) for an 85sqm flat average at around NZ$188 per month, a litre of gas costs NZ$2,02 and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back around NZ$18, 00.

Australia: It currently costs A$1, 688 per month to rent a one bedroom apartment in a city centre. The average price to buy an apartment in a city centre currently stands at A$8, 196 per square metre. Basic utilities (electricity, heating, water, garbage) for an 85sqm flat average at around A$215 per month, a litre of gas costs A$1,45 and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back around A$18, 00.

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