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SHARP RISE IN PEOPLE JUMPING SA SHIP

South African computer programmer Dennis Bartlett says his decision to emigrate was a “no-brainer”.

“In my field there are no jobs in South Africa …. The UK on the other hand had 11 possible positions, and I’ve been able to get British citizenship. It was a no-brainer,” he said.

His sought-after skill is programming in older computer languages. And he has joined the ranks of what observers say is increased emigration.

FNB economist John Loos uses statistics, that include property sales in his emigration data. This shows that the number of people selling to emigrate is the highest since 2009.

At the start of 2014 about 2% of respondents were selling to emigrate. This rose to almost 5% in 2016 and peaked at 7.3% between July and September 2017, he said.

Younger people are also making inquiries. Marlene Prentice, principal owner of Migration Network Australia, said since January she had noticed a substantial increase in inquiries from “potential applicants aged 21 to 29” about moving to Australia.

She said from August to November there were 38% more inquiries about relocating compared with the same months in 2016. She said the number of people who inquired about emigrating to Australia but did not qualify had also increased.

Douglas van der Merwe of LCR Capital helps South Africans acquire a US visa that requires they invest almost R8-million in that country.

He said emigration applications to the US had risen in 2017 due to a push to acquire visas by December 8, when new qualification requirements will be announced.

Van der Merwe said “crime” and the “political situation” were factors in people wanting to leave and inquiries outweighed the number of people who qualified to go.

Bartlett said his move had nothing to do with the perceived troubles in South Africa.

“My general rule of life is to never listen to the news …. As a result I was not affected by the general terror that encompasses all [people] in South Africa.”

KATHARINE CHILD / TimesLive

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Adekunle Owolabi studies democracy, human rights, public opinion, political behavior, civil rights and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries. Follow@iamkstunt

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