Govt to Limit SA Emigration By Tracking Citizens Leaving For More Than Three Months

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While South Africa continues to receive mass immigrants from its dilapidated borders, SA emigration goes higher with thousands more of the country’s talented citizens join

Hence, as government tries rebuild its borders against foreign immigrants, it has also devised means to limit the outflow of citizens to other countries.

Report from SA’s Department of Home Affairs has it that government is already working towards limiting the SA emigration by tracking the number of South Africans leaving the country for more than three months.

According to the report, the cabinet has approved a piece of legislation that would allow the Home Affairs department to put a track and limit South African citizens planning to leave the country for more than three months.

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Following the approval of the legislation – though not passed into law yet- the department’s White Paper on international migration would be used as a means of keeping tabs on citizens outside the country and to try to limit the number of people seeking to leave.

The documents will also outline the department’s plans on how to deal with the massive influx of African immigrants looking for greener pastures across various parts of the country using the controversial ‘open borders policy’ forming the backbone of the strategy.

“[South Africa ] fully supports the vision of an Africa where its citizens can move more freely across national borders, where intra-Africa trade is encouraged and there is greater integration and development of the African continent”  state’s the White Paper

The open border policy has long been parts of the agenda of the African Union yet to be implemented as it’s expected to allow Africans to cross to countries of their choice within the continent.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063, championed by former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, calls for the scrapping of visa requirements for all African citizens travelling on the continent by 2018 based on the views of the African renaissance.



The African passport was launched with great ceremony by Dlamini-Zuma and Rwandan President Paul Kagame at last year’s AU summit in Kigali.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of a high SA emigration to countries like the UK and Australia and according to statistics, the mass exodus got to its peak during Zuma’s administration than in previous governments.

In the papers approved by the cabinet, SA emigration has been increasing by about 9% year-on-year, with more and more black professionals looking to leave.

Statistics South Africa’s 2016 Community Survey earlier shows that countries like Australia have absorbed much of South Africa’s talents followed closely by the United Kingdom and the USA.

“A lot of people leaving South Africa are slightly older than they used to be. The average age of South African UK visa applicants is currently about 39. Many of these people are looking to secure an international future for their children. As we’ve pointed out before, you don’t have to leave South Africa just for the sake of your children,” says John Dunn, Immigration Manager at Sable International.

Survey highlights 2015 stated that South Africans leaving for Australia generally take the following skills with them:

  • IT
  • Accounting
  • Trades: Electricians, plumbers, builders
  • Engineering: Mechanical, civil etc.
  • Teaching: Secondary and pre-primary

While those leaving for the UK take the following skills out of the country.

  • Accounting
  • Engineering
  • Teaching
  • Hospitality
  • Finance

“The other two big push factors for South Africans leaving are the uncertain political climate and the persistently high crime rates. Both are unfortunate realities in the Republic and many citizens have decided to up sticks to escape these problems,” Dunn said.

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The white paper is, however, reported to be the first ever of its kind aimed at limiting SA emigration to other countries