Migration experts are predicting that 2018 will be a bumper year for South Africans moving abroad if the current trend continues more than a million South Africans will be living and working in foreign lands.
More and more South Africans who are able to leave the country permanently are taking their opportunities. Migrations experts have pointed out that locals have become spooked by draconian tax laws passed in 2017.
Socio-economic factors are also playing their part in convincing South Africans to pack their families and forge a new life abroad. Those leaving have pointed to concerns about the lack of job opportunities, South Africa’s falling education standards and safety fears as major reasons for leaving.
Briefly.co.za looks at four negative effects this mass emigration is likely to have on South Africa in the coming years.
1. Skills shortage
Worryingly for the country, the majority of South Africans leaving the country are among the most skilled and highest educated people in the country.
Those leaving tend to be doctors, engineers, lawyers and financial experts and are typically among the highest paid and therefore biggest tax contributors in the country.
This leads to a skills shortage in certain industries and no obvious replacements for those leaving, meaning the term brain drain takes on a very real significance.
2. A slump in the property market
Thesouthafrican.com reported that 7.4% of South Africans are currently looking to sell their homes with the express intent of packing up their lives and moving abroad. That is the highest figure since 2010.
The record was set in 2008 when around 20% of homeowners were selling everything and moving in their droves.
3. South Africa is becoming poorer because of emigration
Many of South Africa’s richest citizens have been leaving the country. According to Business Tech, the country has lost nearly a quarter of those with a net worth of more than $5 million (R70 million) in the last half-decade.
This directly impacts the government’s tax revenues and means that there is less money in the system for the government to spend on programs for the poor.
4. The NHI could scare more doctors and healthcare professionals away
South African already has a shortage of qualified doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Experts predict that if the government does implement its proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme more of those in the medical field will leave the country.
The scheme will introduce a cap on what doctors can charge for their services in the private sector which some have warned could lead to more doctors looking to leave to seek their fortunes abroad.
Experts in the health sector have warned that the government needs to find a balance in its attempt to improve the quality of the public healthcare system.
Where are South Africans moving to?
The United Kingdom remains the most popular destination for South Africans looking to make a fresh start, current estimates show that some 210 000 South Africans have moved to the UK.
Australia is another popular destination for South Africans, the country has taken 190 000 South Africans. The United States, Canada and New Zealand complete the top four choices for foreign-bound South Africans.
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