While the global Covid-19 pandemic has halted international travel, it has done little to curb the plans of South Africans considering leaving the country.
So says John Dunn, director of citizenship and immigration at Sable International, who said demand for emigration has remained relatively constant throughout the pandemic.
He added that while the Covid-19 has delayed the plans of some South Africans seeking to leave the country, it has not suppressed aggregate demand.
Indeed, people who plan to emigrate have been widely allowed through the pandemic – with the exception of the months between April and July 2020, he said.
Dunn added that while most people considering emigrating from South Africa are qualified, they are made up of a wide range of demographics.
This includes a gender split of around 50/50, with emigration applications received from people as young as 17 and 80 years old.
“Skills have always been important for countries like Australia, and are more important now since the Skilled Worker Visa opened, and they are potentially looking to reintroduce a version of the old High Skilled Migrant Program,” he said. he declared.
Dunn said the most popular reasons for emigrating are political instability and the risk of expropriation without compensation, which could result in the deprivation of land from residents.
He added that these factors also have an effect on the exchange rate and investor sentiment, which contributes to the desire to leave the country.
Declining tax base
The high number of skilled people emigrating from South Africa directly contributed to the reduction in the tax base – a problem that was recognized by the National Treasury and SARS.
Data released by the Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing at the University of Cape Town shows that the country’s top three bands, which include the middle class and above, have Shrunk considerably over the past three years.
Jean du Toit, head of tax technique at Tax Consulting SA, said the reasons for the decline are multiple and many would attribute it to the brain drain of South Africans leaving the country which has been exacerbated by the lockdown.
He said there are only a handful of South Africans who actually contribute to the personal income tax pool.
“As part of the 2020 budget review, around 90% of the income tax payable by individuals is paid by the middle class and above (as defined in the terms of the survey).
“It puts the outcome of the investigation into perspective; over a three-year period, our personal income tax base appears to have been roughly halved and it is likely that much of this reduction occurred after February 2020. “
Read: What it’s like to be stuck in a ‘quarantine hotel’ when emigrating from South Africa