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Zimbabweans make up most immigrants in South Africa

Zimbabwe contributes the largest number of immigrants to South Africa, a study on documented immigrants in Africa’s most advanced economy in the past year has shown.

Zimbabweans stand in a long queue at a Home Affairs office in SA when a deportation deadline loomed. File photo. Image by: ESA ALEXANDER
Zimbabweans stand in a long queue at a Home Affairs office in SA when a deportation deadline loomed. File photo.
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

The study released on Tuesday showed that out of the 6,801 foreigners granted permanent residence in South Africa last year, 1,939 or 29 percent were Zimbabweans, the single largest group to acquire the document.

Zimbabweans also made up the single largest group to be granted temporary residence permits, with 18,899 individuals from South Africa’s northern neighbour acquiring the permits, accounting for 19 percent of all foreigners granted such permits last year.

A total of 101,910 people were granted temporary residence permits in 2013, according to the study carried out by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The study did not include the many thousands of illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, and those whose permits were not granted in 2013, Stats SA chief Pali Lehohla said.

Lehohla said it remained to be seen what kind of impact, if any, new and stricter immigration laws announced about two months ago would have on such statistics.

The study confirms the widely held view that Zimbabweans have continued to flock to their more prosperous southern neighbour, in search for jobs and better living conditions. APA

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