Immigration to South Africa

Living and working in South Africa

the Plains or Burchell's Zebra of South Africa
Burchell’s Zebra of South Africa

South Africa is located on the southern tip of Africa, with coastlines on both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Africa’s third-largest economy behind Nigeria and Egypt, South Africa draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year eager to see its impressive terrain, wildlife and cultural diversity.

South Africa is located on the southern tip of Africa, with coastlines on both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Africa’s third-largest economy behind Nigeria and Egypt, South Africa draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year eager to see its impressive terrain, wildlife and cultural diversity. South Africa shares borders with Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The population in South Africa is over 47 million people with diverse origins, languages, cultures and beliefs.

Relaxed Lifestyle in a most stunning natural beautiful place is what a expats desires for when they choose South Africa as their first choice. South Africa is a cosmopolitan country which has nine provinces. Cape Town is the legislative Capital of South Africa. The sandy beaches, Surf, Wildlife, Winelands, Mountains and Trails are some of the other beautiful attractions for the visitors. Expats enjoy a high standard of living at a relatively low cost here in South Africa.

The Following Factors Speak For An Immigration To South Africa

  • Good for Movers
  • Very good for Study
  • Good for Adventure
  • Good Heritage

Traveling information

Flag of South Africa- Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Flag of South Africa

It is advisable for all travelers to check the current restrictions on travel to South Africa as the country had a high level of COVID-91 cases as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Also increased caution must be taken due to crime and civil unrest in the country.

There are major three public modes of transport in South Africa; The Train, Air and Bus. Bus are regarded as a safer and cheaper option than train for an average commuter.  Transportation is still a challenge in most developing countries and South Africa is still plagued with several transport challenges. Find out about the state of public transport in South Africa on

The South African Government regulations for travel (Covid-19) is available in details on

How to immigrate to South Africa

A permanent residence permit is a must in order to immigrate to South Africa, which has to be approved by Immigrants Selection Board. The permit must be filed from your home country or any other country other than South Africa. The permanent residence must be taken within six months from the date the permit is granted. The permit is granted to those who meet certain requirements as mentioned below:

a) The applicant must be of a good character
b) Must be a desirable inhabitant
c) Must not be likely to be harmful to the welfare of South Africa
d) Not applied for an occupation in which there is already sufficient number of people working in the country.
e) The applicant must fall into the list of the South African Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002)

To apply for permanent residency permit visit:


Around 79% of the people in South Africa are black (popularly known as African), 9% are white, around 2.5% Indian or Asian and 9% are coloured (people who are mixed African, Asian and White descent).

The Afrikaans speaking populations in South Africa are by nature, a friendly, loyal and gregarious people. They are mostly straightforward in nature and this may come across as blunt or rude to come. They are very practical. If there is a problem, they will tend to fix it, no questions asked. Afrikaners are generous and helpful even if they appear to be a bit reclusive.

Job offers in South Africa  

Skilled professionals are in demand in South Africa in some areas and good opportunity for expats. However, government policy here gives females, people of color and people with disabilities preference for job opportunities, coupled with South Africa’s high employment rate can sometime pose a barrier for expats trying to search for a job in South Africa. 

Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are three major cities in South Africa with growing expat communities. Johannesburg is a major financial hub and good opportunity for expats to make a career.

If you are looking for a senior executive Job in South Africa, please visit:

Unemployment rate

The QLFS survey showed that the number of employed persons deceased by 660 000 to 14.3 million in the third quarter of 2021. Compared to the second quarter of 2021 the number of unemployed persons decreased by 183 000 to 7.6 million.

The number of discourages job-seekers increased by 545 000 & the number of not economically active increased by 443 000 between the two quarters, making the total to 988 000 not economically actively population.  These above changes resulted in official employment rate to 34.9% in the third quarter of 2021. The survey also found that unemployment rate among women are higher (37.3%) than men (32.9%). Except for Finance industry all other industries suffered job losses.

For an updated unemployment data please visit:

Economy of South Africa  

South Africa has a mixed economy in which there is a variety of private freedom, combined with centralized economic planning and government regulation.  Agriculture is of prime importance to South Africa, because it produces a significant part of exports and contributes greatly to the domestic economy, though the land and water resources are very poor.  Some areas which were very dry, like the Fish River valley and the Eastern Cape area have become fertile and productive due to irrigation. Timber, Pulpwood for paper and Board mills, building timber used for construction industry is catered by South Africa’s resourceful Forest industry.

South Africa is one of the World’s largest exporters of Gold, Platinum which makes its economy on high. It is well-established in  finance, legal, communications, energy and transportation sectors and also in the continent’s largest stock exchange. In 2019 the GDP growth was 0.2%. The spread of Covid-19 and the measures to curb the spread further damaged the economy. In 2020 the economy turned negative. The growth resumed in 2021.

For more on South Africa’s economy visit :

Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners


There are no restrictions for foreigners to buy a property in South Africa however lower mortgage limits will apply. They must comply with local legislation in this regard. If you are fulltime employee in South Africa and wish to buy a real estate, the following documents need to be submitted. 

  1. A client home loan interview form (can be procured on-line)
  2. A copy of the ID or Passport and Work Permit
  3. A salary advice or payslip for the last six months
  4. A copy of a full contract of Employment

A guide foreigner’s guide  to buying a real estate in South Africa is a must to be considered before making a decision. The most practical guidelines are update on


Location close to the workplace and School/colleges if children are there must be the main aspect to consider. Other factors to consider are market places and other important amenities close to the rented house. The largest number of expats and foreigners in Cairo choose Maadi & New Cairo as the first option where most of the workplace is and also schools. 

Get information on renting a property in Egypt on


South Africa is a dry country. It gets average rainfall of about 464 mm annually. The western Cape gets rainfall in Winter and the rest of the country in Summer. Temperature is lower in South Africa than the countries at similar latitudes mainly because South Africa is at a greater elevation above sea level.

It has following 4 seasons:
Spring (September, October & November)
Summer (December, January & February)
Autumn (March, April & May)
Winter (June, July & August)

Read more about South Africa’ weather on


There are 11 (eleven) official languages spoken in South Africa. They are Afrikaans, English, Sesotho, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.

Zulu is South Africa’s largest spoken language, spoken by almost a quarter (23%) of the population, followed by isiXhosa (16%) and Afrikaans (13.5%).  People have switched to learning Zulu as their first or second language as its popularity is increased over the years. The introduction of Zulu language News television channel and other Zulu shows have contributed to its popularity.

Ndebele and Tshivenda are the two languages that are slowly dying out in South Africa. They are now spoken by only 2.1% and 2.4% of the population respectively. One the reasons that these two languages are dying out is the communities speaking these languages are scattered in the outskirts provinces of South Africa and secondly Zulu and English has made a big influence.   


Most of the roads in South Africa a good, well maintained and easy to navigate in the urban areas. However, in rural areas roads pose a great challenge to new drivers and can be dangerous. While on the road, its very important to be alert of over speeding bad drivers, Wildlife on the road and crime risks like thieves, hitchhikers, fraudulent traffic police that can spoil your journey.

Africa’s most famous “Beltways” or “Ring Road” is the Johannesburg Ring Road.  This ring road has 3 freeways that converge on the city forming an 80-kilometer (50 m) loop around it and links Durban, Pretoria, Cape town, Witbank and Kimberley to Johannesburg. This is the busiest road in South Africa. Live traffic reports and update are available on

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) was established with the objective to co-operate, plan, regulate, facilitate law enforcement in respect of road traffic by national and local area of government and also, to share the responsibility of road safety between governments, business, community groups and individuals. The RTMC is the leading road safety agency in South Africa and a member of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration.

Some road safety tips are nicely explained on the website:


South African Rand is the official money in South Africa. The symbol is R. The currency code is ZAR, and ZAR is a floating currency. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The present value of 1R is 0,063 US$. 

The currency is available in the following denominations:
Bank notes: R100, R200, R20, R10 & R50
Coins: 10-euro cent, 20 cent euro, 50c, R1, R5, R2

Some facts to know:

  1. The value of Rand has fluctuated greatly in recent years, travelling within the country is less expensive than in western Europe or USA.
  2. Officially the South African Rand is used in South Africa, Namibia, Eswatini & Lesotho.
  3. R200 notes has been a victim of counterfeit notes and therefore not accepted everywhere.
  4. Notes with the face of Nelson Mandela were called “Randela”

To find the currency exchange value, please log on to:

Payment Transaction: 

Mostly online payment system is used throughout South Africa. As per 2020 statistics, 41% transactions were done using Credit Cards, 11% Cash, 20% Bank Transfers, E-Wallet was 17% and 11% others. 

The reason why South Africa is a cash-based society is due to lack of adequate banking infrastructure, limited awareness of E-payments, low acceptance at retailers. However, the trend is now changing and use of Credit Cards are on the increase.

To know how South Africa is rapidly digitizing please visit:

Cost of living in South Africa 

The cost of living in South Africa is relatively cheaper as compared to most of the western countries. Approximately monthly average cost without Rent is 9,040R (577$) for a single person and 31,380R (2,003$) for a family having four members. Rent is also lower as compared to many western countries, e.g. on an average rent in South Africa is 65.10% lower than in the US. 

Many places in South Africa, poverty is a sad site to witness, hence labor cost is very cheap here. Thus, an expat can have a domestic help at a very low cost and have a high standard of living. Restaurants, Alcohol & general services are also not too expensive.  

For the best ever guide to living in Cape Town please visit:

Apartment Rent 

Renting a house is relatively low in South Africa and you can find a great place for an affordable price. Rent will vary drastically in different cities which is shown below. The rate is monthly average cost. 

Apartment Type              Rent in Johannesburg         Rent in Cape Town 

Small Apartment                      ZAR10,564.58                   ZAR12,618.84

Medium Apartment                   ZAR13,815.14                   ZAR17,878.41

Large Apartment                      ZAR17,878.41                   ZAR22,649.20

To find a rental property in South Africa, please visit :


Like most of the countries, profits of all businesses are taxable in South Africa and annual income tax returns must be filed with South African revenue service (SARS). The different types of tax payable are:

  1. Income Tax
  2. Value Added Tax (VAT)
  3. Capital Gains Tax
  4. Provisional Tax
  5. Paye (Pay-As-You-Earn)
  6. Transfer Duty
  7. Customs and Excise Taxes
  8. Double Taxation Agreements

Everyone living and working in South Africa pay income tax, however the value depends on the tax residency status and the income earned. The funds collected from taxes are used to fund projects and services that are often taken for granted. Some of the projects include health care. Communications, roads, housing, safety and security etc. Tax funds are also used to finance disability and child-care grants. 

To find out “Who pays tax” and “Who are exempt to pay tax” along with the income tax bracket for the 2022, please visit:

Health Insurance   

All nursing mothers and children under six years are offered free healthcare services in any public hospitals. However, the healthcare system is very inefficient in South Africa, both in public and private. The cost of health care is too high. The National Health Insurance (NHI) is a health financing system was formed in 2015 with an aim to pool funds to provide access to qualify affordable personal health care and services to all South Africans, irrespective of their socio-economic status. It is intended to ease out the financial hardship for individuals and their families.  The system is still hoping to be implemented soon.

All residents of South Africa including refugees and asylum seekers have access to free anti-retroviral treatment at all public health care providers without the need for a permit or SA identity document.  Different Private medical insurance companies operate in South Africa and can be difficult to generalize. On an average health insurance can cost R1,000(£46) to R2,000 (£93) per month for a family of four members. There are around 200 private medical care centers or hospitals across the country, where 79% doctors are employed.  Major private health insurance companies that operate in South Africa are:

Allianz Care
Cigna Global
Globality Health
William Russel 

A full guide to Health insurance in South Africa is available on:

Important addresses

A comprehensive contact on-line directory of all government structures and bodies, including national and local departments, state-owned or foreign representatives in South Africa, ministry, media, tourism, legal, public institutions etc. with contact details are available on the website:


South Africa is the 25th largest country in the world with beautiful natural reserve abundant with all manner of wildlife, including Lions, Elephants and Zebra is the main attraction for visitors from all around the world. The Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are two of the world’s most renowned wildlife parks. Wide-open Savannah of Mpumalanga to the Kalahari desert and the peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains, beautiful  beaches is what makes South Africa one of the most sort out destination in the world.

On the other hand, the cities are modernized with sprawling skyscrapers, cosmopolitan dinning and bar area, shopping malls to suit all budgets. South Africa worth visiting!

Moving to South Africa

Compare the costs and save up to 40% on your move. Within just 1 minute you can get the 5 best offers from over 1,000 professional international moving companies here for free. Over 200,000 emigrants have successfully used this service to date.

Translation Of The Documents

With Lingoking you can have all documents (such as driver’s license, birth certificate, marriage certificate, B2B and other categories) translated into the local language (or vice versa) quickly and inexpensively. The following link will take you to the selection page: Calculate the price for your translation

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