Despite overseas arrivals to South Africa showing a 16% increase year on year for the first quarter of this year, there was a 10% drop in students coming to study English in South African language schools in the first few months of 2016. At least two schools in Cape Town are alleged to have closed down due to declining student numbers. Meanwhile, countries including Australia and New Zealand are seeing an increase in arrivals from English language learners.
The decline is being attributed to the implementation of the new immigration laws that consider current accreditations held by schools teaching English as foreign language (EFL) as insufficient to obtain study visas for students.
In 2015, EduSA – the national association of quality English language centres in South Africa – reported that 7 336 students visited South Africa. Year to date, the number of students has dropped by a confirmed 10% and, more concerning, it is still dropping.