Making the Best out of Immigration
"South Africa has long been a major immigration destination country, with migrants arriving from across the African continent and beyond. Some head to South Africa for reasons of conflict, insecurity or persecution at home, more make the journey to find work and improve their economic conditions. Whether fleeing from fear or drawn to opportunity, African migrants in South Africa have in common the belief that post-apartheid South Africa with its democratic constitution, open economy and relative riches, offers the possibility of a better life. In the early 2000s, already substantial immigration into South Africa increased dramatically as a consequence of the political and economic crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Around one to two million Zimbabweans now live in South Africa. Some highly skilled workers have obtained work permits and legal residency. Several hundred thousand have applied for asylum, leading to South Africa becoming the world’s number one asylum destination. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Zimbabweans in South Africa are undocumented migrants, with no legal papers to secure their position in the country. This is also the case for many other African migrants, since South Africa’s immigration system offers hardly any route for legal immigration."