How Many Skilled Professionals Are Leaving South Africa Every Day?

There has been a major increase in skilled professionals leaving the country as South Africa faces continued uncertainty.

Speaking to eNCA, Sable International’s Andrew Rissik said that people are leaving for many reasons – with two of the biggest reasons being economic uncertainty and crime.

“We are looking at around 25,000 skilled people leaving South Africa each year, with around 1,000 – 2,000 of these people also being very wealthy people who are able to buy their way into other countries.

“These are potentially very high-quality taxpayers that South Africa is losing,” said Rissik.

This averages out to around 68 skilled people, and between two and five ultra-wealthy South Africans, leaving the country every day.

“What we see is that a lot of people with young children tend to start getting pulled back to South Africa because of family links.

“Although we have seen this (trend) slow compared to the past decade because of the economic situation in South Africa as we know it – it’s really pretty negative at the moment.”

Rissik added that as long as these ‘push factors’ are present, people will continue to leave.

Popular destinations

The Department of Home Affairs does not keep record of South Africans who emigrate permanently; however, receiver countries do keep track of immigrants, which gives an indication of how many people are actually leaving.

This data shows that the UK is still the most popular choice for South African immigrants, while a growing number are also choosing to settle in Australia and New Zealand.

  1. New Zealand: The latest data from Stats NZ shows that there has been a sharp rise in South African migrants, with 8,200 people moving to the country between April 2018 and April 2019;
  2. Australia: The latest immigration data from Australia shows that a total of 5,397 South Africans moved in 2016/17 time period and 2,907 South Africans over the 2017/2018 period;
  3. UK: At the beginning of January, statistics provided to City Press by UK’s Office for National Statistics showed that approximately 7,300 people emigrated from South Africa to the UK in 2017

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Ross Parmly [1], [2].

HSBC’s Expat Explorer Report 2019 Reveals Interesting Expat Insights

In HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer Report, the company reveals some interesting insights into expat life, and expat perceptions of various countries around the world.

The Expat Explorer Survey is aimed at providing people with information when they aren’t sure where they want to move, are trying to decide between a few countries, and want to compare their home country to those in which they’re interested.  To view the Survey’s results table, click here.

In the 2019 Survey, the top ranking countries were as follows:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. Canada
  4. Spain
  5. New Zealand
  6. Australia
  7. Turkey
  8. Germany
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Vietnam

The countries were ranked according to criteria across 3 categories; Living (well-being and society), Aspiring (finances and ambition), and Little Expats (child-related factors).

Switzerland takes top position

Switzerland ranked highest overall, and has secured a position in the top 10 every year since 2011. An impressive 82% of expats in Switzerland have seen an improvement in their quality of life compared to their home country, with its stunning scenery a major contributing factor. Expats also praise Switzerland’s low levels of pollution, with 70% noting cleaner and more pleasant surroundings than they were used to at home. This is far higher than the global average with only 40% of all expats saying the same. Enhanced well-being doesn’t stop there. Home to Geneva, the City of Peace, Switzerland is renowned for its low crime rates and safe streets. Two-thirds (67%) of expats feel more secure there than in their home country.

Financial factors are where Switzerland continues to excel. Higher levels of disposable income are reported by 71% of expats, contributing to an average expat salary of $111,587, well above the global mean of $75,966. Expats also note the country’s remarkable levels of political and economic stability. In a year where almost half of expats globally (49%) are concerned about their country’s economic situation, only 20% in Switzerland have any such reservations, and 86% are relaxed about the country’s political status.

Expat life exceeds expectations for young professionals

Those who make the move abroad before their 35th birthday see the biggest boost in their pay packet and career potential, compared to older workers, leading to greater fulfillment and a securer financial future.

Almost half (47%) of young expats move abroad to further their career, and they are very much reaping the rewards. The majority (55%) become more confident while abroad, while more than seven in 10 (71%) learn new skills. They are also more likely to benefit from quicker promotions or move into a new career path entirely – with one in 10 even starting their own business after moving country.

Moving abroad early can also be the key to unlocking higher earnings. Four-fifths (80%) of young people aged under 35 years increase their earnings abroad. Expat Millennials can expect to see their income jump by over a third (35%), from an average global annual salary of $40,000 to just under $55,000. In comparison, for 35 to 54-year-olds, earnings increase by just under a quarter (24%), while the over 55s see a 9% increase.

With this increased windfall meaning more disposable income in the short-term, our data shows that Millennials are also thinking long-term. These expats told us home ownership was their top financial priority, with 45% of under 35s already on the property ladder.

Popular destinations for Millenials include Hong Kong, the USA, the UK, and Poland.

Tips from HSBC

The company notes that it is important to get ahead with as much admin as possible before departing. This includes not only organizing visas and sorting out financial matters and budgets, but also planning school applications and arranging healthcare services.

HSBC also suggests using the local language of your new home as soon as possible, and immersing yourself in the local culture, can allow you to develop a strong social circle and help you settle in faster. Joining interest-based clubs is one way to achieve this.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

How to Deal With Expat Burnout

This article is courtesy of Vivien Chiona at Expat Nest.

Most of us will be familiar with the word “burnout” but what does it actually mean, and how does it apply to us as expats? Here are some signs of expat burnout and some pointers to help bring back the spark to your international life.

Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. It is more commonly understood in the context of work, but can also occur due to stresses in relationships, financial problems or other external factors. Expats can become vulnerable to burnout – or “change fatigue” – when the stresses of a transition-rich lifestyle begin to feel overwhelming and impact our everyday functioning.

Symptoms of expat burnout

The sense of exhaustion, frustration with your expat lifestyle and increasingly frequent thoughts of wanting to give up and return home can indicate that you are heading for or experiencing expat burnout. You may feel constantly tired, unmotivated, hopeless and/or overwhelmed, and experience anxiety at the thought of moving house or country again.

Expat burnout can occur at any stage of an expat experience: when you’re preparing to move (again) to another country, when you’ve just arrived and are setting up your new life, or during the daily routine of an established expat life. For many expats this feeling will pass, but for some it may persist.

Tips for dealing with burnout

If you are questioning your decision to join the expat culture and have lost your sense of purpose or motivation, these pointers are a good start to getting back on track. For colleagues, friends and family of expats, they may offer ways for you to support the expat in your life.

  • Look after yourself first – Make your self-care a priority. On aeroplanes we are asked to place our own oxygen mask in an emergency, before assisting others. Listen to your body and mind: if you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, it’s a sign to take some time out and to prioritise your needs.
  • Go with the feeling – Step back and accept that you feel the way you do. Recognise that this uncomfortable feeling is a sign that you are stretched beyond your limits right now. Know that in time you will recover and begin to feel like yourself again.
  • Get back to basics – Stability is a basic need and there are simple ways to create it in your expat lifestyle. For example, establish a weekly routine that feels right for you; set up a regular chat slot with loved ones back home (e.g. Sunday 6pm); or plan simple and nutritious meals for the week, so that your diet supports your health and energy needs. For those who can’t avoid a highly mobile lifestyle or frequent travel, find continuity through rituals – this can be as simple as having breakfast at the same time every day no matter where you are.
  • Explore your current city or a new place – It’s easy to stick to what we know, seeing the same people and places. Follow your curiosity and explore what is around you and further afield. Look about with new eyes. You might discover some gems to refresh your outlook on expat life.
  • Have kinder expectations of yourself – Stop doing the things that are undermining your sense of wellbeing or putting unrealistic pressure on you. Take back control by reorganising your life step by step. Ask yourself: does this really have to be done today, or can it wait until I have more energy?
  • Schedule time to relax – Make sure your to-do lists build in plenty of rest and downtime! Set some time aside each day to unwind and do something that nurtures your soul, such as joining a meditation class, jogging or going for a walk (find what works for you). Making this a part of your daily routine is key to supporting your wellbeing.

Many expats will feel stressed and despondent at some point. It is important to recognise the signs so that the negative state doesn’t overwhelm you and lead to burnout. If you need any guidance or somebody to explore your feelings with, please feel free to contact us for extra support. We are always here for you.

With thanks to Sophie Patrick for her contribution to this article.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Erwan Hesry [1], [2].

What to Look Out For When Buying Property Overseas

Buying property abroad as an expat can require more research, and may involve more risks than buying in your home country. You should start planning the purchase well in advance, do some research on formalities such as visa requirements for buyers and mortgage conditions, and get expert advice when necessary. has put together a guide to finding and buying the right property for you, whether it’s an investment solution, a holiday home, or a permanent residence.

Know why you want to buy a property

In all cases, a property is a type of investment, however, before purchasing real estate, define the main reasons behind such a costly move. If you are buying with investment in mind, look in tourist hubs or big cities which are popular among digital nomads, leisure, and business travellers. These properties tend to go up in value and secure a high rental income throughout the year. On the other hand, if you are searching to buy your permanent home abroad to settle in with your family, consider the cost and quality of life, accessibility, population of expat community, and facilities (e.g. hospitals, schools, entertainment) in different regions in the country before you conclude.

Create a budget

Owning property doesn’t only involve the cost of buying it — there are more expenses to consider beyond the price of the house. To complete a real estate purchase and to make the house livable or profitable, you will have to pay the broker’s and attorney’s fees, taxes, and spend money on furniture and appliances. For example, in Spain, a stamp duty, which is the tax you pay on any property purchase, is about one per cent of the purchase price, and a VAT tax is about ten per cent. Also, there is a yearly ownership tax which fluctuates from property to property and location to location; in Spain, it starts from 100 Euros and goes up to as much as 3,000. In general, you may end up spending an additional 2 to 5 per cent of the purchase price in closing fees.

Research the different regions

Before deciding on a specific location, it’s a good idea to understand what everyday life is like in the area. If you aim to rent out your property to holidaymakers, make sure the area is well-connected and has attractions, as well as activities for different ages and tastes. Also, do market research to check whether property values in the region have been declining or increasing in recent years. This will help you understand whether a property purchase in this location is a good investment or a risky one. The best way to get a clear picture of all the above is to rent a house for a few weeks and explore the area where you plan to buy with the mindset of a permanent resident.

Consider all types of properties

Do you prefer to buy a new construction property, which won’t require any refurbishment or a resale property in which you can apply your creativity and renovation ideas? There are also off-plan properties, which have been approved for construction by the local authorities, but it is likely that the house will not be built due to bureaucracy, the bankruptcy of the development company, or other reasons.

Hire a property agent and an attorney

Once you have decided on the region, type of property, and budget ask the help of a property agent, who will narrow down the options for you based on your criteria. However, keep in mind that a property agent may not always prioritise your best interest, but the sellers, as often it is the seller who pays the agent’s commissions. If you aren’t fluent in the official language of the country you want to buy property in, an attorney (who speaks your native language too and is registered with the local bar association) will guide you through the process and the local real property laws.

Organise the formalities

Depending on your expatriation plans, you will have to apply for a different visa to stay and purchase real estate in your host country. For example, if you wish to retire overseas, you will need a resident permit, which allows you to live in the country without working — as long as you can prove that your pension from back home is adequate to support you financially while abroad. Many countries such as Spain, Portugal, the Bahamas, and Mauritius offer residency in exchange for foreign investment in property, which is worth more than a certain amount.

Get a survey and an inspection done

Before you make up your mind about a property, book an inspection to find out about defects in the house that most likely aren’t obvious, and about structural improvements that you can make. A survey, which is also done by experts, will tell you where is the beginning and end of your property and land; also you will find out about the exact locations of underground cables and pipes.

Negotiate the contract

Before signing the contract for your property purchase, make sure that you have no unanswered questions left. Among other details, the contract has deadlines, both for you and the seller, for different stages of the process depending on the type of property you are buying. Some information you should see on the contract is the date of completion for an off-plan construction, scheduled repairs and the person in charge to cover the cost, taxes, etc.

Close on the property

To close on your desired house, you should be able to pay an initial deposit, which varies from one country to another. In Europe, it’s about ten per cent, whereas in the USA and Australia it’s up to 20 per cent. In general, a bigger deposit increases the chances of the approval of your loan and means borrowing less money, thus paying less interest to the bank. This final stage of your purchase should take place at a notary’s office, and if you cannot be there in person, you have the option to send a representative.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: rawpixel [1], [2].