The picture that typically comes to mind when one thinks of South Africa is that of wildlife and safaris. However, there is much more to the country, with its cities home to skyscrapers, shopping malls, entertainment venues, and the likes. While the cosmopolitan culture that can be found in South Africa’s cities attracts expats from different parts of the world, some factors require your attention if you plan to relocate to this country.
If you’re moving to South Africa with a job in hand, you may have little to worry about in this regard. However, finding a job once you move to the country is easier said than done. When it comes to jobs in the country, South Africa’s Affirmative Action policy gives preference to people with disabilities and people of color.
The policy, along with the country’s high levels of unemployment, may work as an obstacle for expats who wish to look for work here. Incidentally, the requirement for particular skill sets in some fields continues to create opportunities for foreigners.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in South Africa is lower than most Western countries, although prices have been rising in recent times. Fuel and utilities, for instance, cost noticeably more than they did a few years ago. This is mainly because of high unemployment rates, a struggling economy, as well as a fluctuating currency.
The cost of renting or buying a home depends on the city you choose. The average cost of renting a one bedroom apartment in city centers of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban stands at R10,694, R6,972, R4,777, and R4,680 respectively.
The low cost of living in South Africa gives expats easy means to hire domestic help, if required. Eating and drinking out is typically more affordable than in the U.S., the UK, or Australia.
If you have a valid South African residency permit, you may import your household goods and personal effects without paying any duty. When getting an automobile into the country as a temporary resident, you will need to pay import duty if you plan to keep the vehicle for more than 12 months. Getting a pet into the country requires that you follow stringent import and quarantine related regulations. The maximum cash an individual may carry without restrictions when entering the country limits to R5,000.
Levels of violent crime in South Africa are higher than most Western countries. However, petty-crime levels are at par or lower than in countries such as the UK, France, and Australia. A growing problem of substance abuse continues to plague the country. Instances of domestic abuse are reported frequently. National crime statistics reveal that a significant number of violent crimes take place between known people such as friends, family members, or members from the same community.
Maintaining personal safety in South Africa can be fairly simple, provided you take sensible precautions and avoid high-risk behavior.
One way to move your money from your current country of residence to South Africa is to use the services of your bank. However, most banks tend to falter when it comes to exchange rates, fees, and turnaround times. As a result, you might be better off turning to a specialist overseas money transfer company such as OFX, WorldRemit, WorldFirst, or TransferWise.
Given the number of expats who call South Africa home, it is safe to say that you will have some familiar ground to tread on when you relocate to this country. As long as you have a steady source of income and steer clear of trouble, there is no reason why you cannot have a great time here.