South African Expats

Many South Africans want to move to other English-speaking countries. Most of these people decide to move abroad in order to find a better place to live and improve the quality of life. The United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada are  the most popular destinations for South African expats.

Working and Living in Your New Country

South African workers need to be offered a job in a foreign company before they can officially become expats. In the United Kingdom, when a South African is offered a position, the employer must start the process of getting a work permit for the employee. The process starts in the immigration department. If the employer proves that the South African employee is the most suitable for the job, the permit will be granted. This can be very difficult. Most other countries also require employers to start the process of getting work permits for foreign employees. However, very few companies will do this. In most EU countries, you cannot get a job without having a work permit; on the other hand, you cannot get a work permit if you don’t have a job opportunity. Most European countries will give jobs to their own citizens (or to other EU citizens). Finding a legal job in an EU country can be very difficult if you are a South African citizen.

The permit is valid for five years maximum. A South African expat holding a permit for 4 or more years may apply for full residency which will give him/her the opportunity to become self-employed, or to move to another job position.

Most South African expats who move to Europe (or the United States) will find the cost of living in their new country very high, compared to that of their home country. You will need some time to get used to your new country. However, you should not worry about the high cost of living, because salaries are also higher.

Moving to South Africa

People who want to live and work in South Africa are attracted by beautiful nature, interesting culture(s), amazing wildlife, great climate, and – low cost of living. The most popular cities for foreigners are Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Most foreigners find job opportunities in education and engineering, but other sectors may offer you a job opportunity, depending on your skills. Learn more about  the best employers in South Africa.

If you speak English, you won’t have any communication problems. However, eleven more languages are spoken in South Africa. It will be good to learn at least one of them.

You should know that the incidence of crime is quite high in South Africa. Cape Town and Johannesburg are considered unsafe, especially for foreigners. Read more about  safety issues in South Africa.

Taxes for Expats in South Africa

If you are paying tax in your home country, you won’t be taxed twice. South Africa has tax treaties with many countries, and these treaties exempt foreigners from taxes (for some types of income). If you’ve already paid taxes in SA, you can claim foreign tax credit to avoid double taxation. Read more about  taxation of expats in South Africa.

To read about other expats’ experiences, visit:

Expat Forum
Expat Arrivals