Skilled South Africans are rushing out of the country

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people leaving South Africa over the past few years, as illustrated by the website Where Did We Go.

The website’s developer said he is building this project “as a personal interest piece to visualise where, when, and how many South Africans have left the country”.

The website also compares when people left South Africa and which professions lost the most people.

Where Did We Go shows that there has been a rapid increase in the number of South Africans who left the country over the last two years.

The website’s founder said there is a “massive movement of software and IT related jobs, followed closely by teachers and the engineering professions”.

The data shows that there are five main countries which South Africans emigrate to – The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada.

The screenshot below from the Where Did We Go website shows when most people left South Africa and where they went [Visit Where Did We Go for a full visualisation].

People leaving South Africa

While the Where Did We Go website relies on user feedback for its visualisations, the data is backed up by other official sources.

The latest data from Stats New Zealand shows that there has been a sharp rise in South African immigrants, with 8,200 people moving to the country between April 2018 and April 2019.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics further shows that there are approximately 189,000 South African-born people currently living in Australia.

This number has steadily increased over the past decade, with Melbourne and Sydney being the most popular destinations.

South Africa losing wealthy and skilled people

People who leave South Africa are typically highly skilled individuals who earn high salaries, pay a lot of tax, and support many industries in the country.

According to Sable International’s Andrew Rissik, around 25,000 skilled people leaving South Africa each year.

Rissik added that around 1,000 to 2,000 of people who leave the country each year are very wealthy and are able to buy their way into other countries.

The impact of high net-worth individuals and skilled people leaving South Africa is felt throughout the economy.

AdvTech, for example, said its muted financial results were partly caused by an increase in the number of private school students who have emigrated.

“South Africa had a more muted performance, which was impacted by the high levels of withdrawals owing to emigration and financial pressures, particularly in the premium schools,” the group said.

The housing market is also impacted. The latest FNB property barometer shows an increase in the number of South Africans who are selling their homes with plans to emigrate.

FNB said emigration-driven sales have become a more prominent feature of the housing market in South Africa over the past two years.

South Africans moving to New Zealand

Economist Mike Schussler has recently published a graph showing a big spike in South Africans emigrating to New Zealand.

Schussler said the number of South Africans moving to New Zealand increased fivefold from January 2014 to January 2019.

He explained that people leaving are typically skilled or have enough money to start a business, which means South Africa is losing valuable resources when people emigrate.

The chart below shows the rapid increase in people leaving South Africa for New Zealand over the past few years.

Now read: The truth behind IT executives leaving South Africa

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Skilled South Africans are rushing out of the country