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American emigration: Has Trump affected the numbers?

(Partner content) Statistics show that despite negative feedback from the public on President Trump, American emigration is still popular for South Africans.


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The recent surge in the number of people leaving South Africa is the highest since 2015. The most popular destinations for South Africans have been Canada, New Zealand, Australia and America, but has the Trump administration lessened the number of migrants heading to the States?

American emigration since 2015

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has data that reveals that between 2015 and 2017 around 10 200 South Africans obtained permanent resident status. The people who obtained residency include green card holders, temporary non-immigrants, asylum seekers and people who were naturalised. And this number has shown no signs of lessening.

It is estimated that around 70 South Africans leave per week for The United States, and whilst this number includes children and dependents, it is still a significant number of employable people leaving South Africa’s shores in search of a different life.

Who is emigrating to the States?

Whilst skilled workers are amongst the most common emigrants, the largest number of visas given belong to people who are joining family in the States. Employment-based visas make up around 30% of visas issued and green card lottery winners make up less than 10%.

By definition, an international migrant, according to the United Nations Population Division, is someone who has been living for one year or longer in a country other than the one in which he or she was born. This includes semi-permanent foreign workers and students, although they may not always remain in the United States indefinitely.

There is also a symbiosis of sorts between American farmers and South African farmers. South African farmers in search of a more secure farming future are making their way to the States to alleviate the pressure placed on the US farming market caused by an ageing farming population and a general shortage of labourers. Although the process can be expensive and lengthy, it is growing in popularity and a means to continue farming but in a more secure environment.

Getting to America

Whilst there are various reasons people decide on American emigration, there are also several ways to enter the United States. Speaking to friends or colleagues who have emigrated is helpful, and visiting the country beforehand is also highly recommended.

For professional assistance, it is advisable to find an immigration lawyer who can assist with your move. Grant Kaplan is an immigration lawyer based in Florida who has helped thousands of families and business people make the move into the States. The Law Offices of Grant Kaplan provide a full immigration service for all visa categories. Tel +1 561 347 8440 or email As well as this, Grant Kaplan and his associates visit South Africa several times a year to meet one-on-one with people wishing to make the move to the States.