Trends in emigration

By Grant Sakinofsky of Smooth Migration

For many years, South Africans have investigated the possibility of leaving the country to live elsewhere. At various times, often following particular events, the numbers considering a move show a significant increase. Relocation expert, Grant Sakinofsky, who has operated a global relocation firm, Smooth Migration, for the past five years, shares some insights into trends relating to this.

According to Grant, “Events like the war in Ukraine and the October 7th attacks impact people around the world both directly and indirectly. Indirect impacts are seen in changed migration patterns, challenges in global supply chains, and various other global changes. As for direct impacts, these events may mean that people are feeling the devastation personally or that their family members may have been affected by things like injuries, the loss of homes and the loss of livelihoods.”

As for the Jewish community of South Africa, there is a great deal of uncertainty about our government’s stance on the war in Gaza. This has led to heightened discomfort for some people about our future in this country.

“These type of events inevitably result in a spike in enquiries about relocation and emigration,” Grant explains.”While each individual may respond differently, a happening of this sort may result in the realisation among particular individuals that they no longer want to deal with a struggle that is not theirs and thus there is a motivation to leave the country.” Grant’s firm has assisted over 400 South Africans and some other nationalities to relocate to the locations that the firm operates in.

Grant has identified the major prompts for relocation currently as:
• War or conflict 
• Educational opportunities
• Overpopulation
• Political causes
• Environmental factors
• Better healthcare
• Social and religious reasons
• Poverty

Research by Grant’s team has identified the semigration trend in South Africa, in terms of which there has been an increase in people moving locally from the northern provinces of South Africa, such as Gauteng, to the Western Cape. But, there is also a drive among more people to emigrate entirely. “There was a time when many people looked at obtaining a secondary passport or residency elsewhere as a backup plan, but now there is a bigger demand for actual physical moves,” Grant comments. 

Based on information provided by immigration agencies, Grant points out that members of the South African Jewish community are most attracted to these countries: Australia, Canada and Israel, which appear to be easier to get into. The USA is still in high demand, but this is a choice more suited to high-net worth individuals. 

The demographics of those emigrating has also changed: it is no longer just a working holiday for those in their 20s or a company transfer amongst those in their 30s and 40s. Today, interest in emigrating is seen among all ages and all backgrounds. 

Grant advises that relocation to another country will be smoother if sufficient research is done and if the advice of experts in the field is obtained prior to making a decision about emigrating.

Grant grew up in Cape Town and has lived in a number of different countries. He currently resides in Canada. His business operates in Canada, South Africa, the UK and the USA. They do not deal with any immigration matters, but focus on providing for the needs of people who relocate, such as building a credit history in the new country so as to be able to access things like real estate, mobile phones, insurance policies, mortgage bonds, the purchase of a business and a vehicle, etc. 

• Published in the March 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

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