What Is Immigration – Understanding Why People Move To South Africa


Immigration defines people’s movement from one country to another for settlement. Some factors urging them to relocate to South Africa include economic, geophysical and political reasons. The reasons differ but the pictures of their destinations in mind are the same – a place that provides their specific need for the time, which may or may not be better than their present residence because of risks. The answer to the question “What is immigration?” could mean differently in varying context.

What is Immigration: Moving from Poverty to Economic Progress

Gallup Polls from 2012 estimates more than 600 million adults would like to migrate to another country, with more than a quarter desiring to move either to the United States or the United Kingdom. South Africa also ranks among the ten countries included in this list. Economic expansion in South Africa increases the flow of immigrants who are attracted with opportunities or higher compensation.

The number of immigrants also increases as the cost to these opportunities lower. Opportunity costs would refer to the daily living expense, or the policies in place that will allow them to migrate easily. The more jobs available in a country, the more attracted people will be to move there and work their either for personal growth or sustain their families. When they have earned enough and saved, they may opt to apply as citizens and ask their relatives to migrate too.

What is immigration: A Response from Surviving Natural Disasters

Poverty driven migration is heightened whenever natural disaster strikes in one country. More than economic progress, people who survived from calamities will prioritize running to a place of safety. This is often the cause of illegal migration to South Africa in regions near disaster prone areas. Their escape plan from the tragic life they left would be to start a new and live in another country.

What is immigration: An Escape from Political Turmoil

Massive immigration took place during the World Wars causing countries to draft restrictive policies on immigration. Same as in surviving from natural disasters, individuals and families would avoid conflicts of war and look for a place where they are welcomed. Refugees would opt for a place to settle, and because of this, countries like South Africa have set guidelines on how they can determine an immigrant’s status.

What is Immigration: Population Control Strategy

Some countries have sound immigration policies connected with their population control strategy. They encourage immigrants to increase their pool of workforce and to add to their population in response to low fertility rates. Back in the 1980s, South African policymakers for immigration urged businessmen to migrate to South Africa to open opportunities for employment through their skills and investments. This trend lasts till nowadays.

What is immigration: Beneficial and Challenging for the Host Country

Immigrants contribute to a strong workforce and will do labor jobs at a lower rate than employees from host country. It also increases the talent pool if the immigrants are well educated and offers an in-depth knowledge and expertise.