South Africa to Encourage Student Immigration

By Elizabeth Koprowski

Like other countries around the world, South Africa has acknowledged the value and importance of international students to its university system and growing economy. And the nation, which boasts the second largest economy in Africa, wants those international students to stay in South Africa once they finish their studies. Last month, South Africa's minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, announced that the country will be developing initiatives to encourage international students to remain after graduation. Let's take a closer look at the plans.

Gigaba revealed the plans in October during a speech at an International Student Dialogue on International Migration. The Minister explained that South Africa hopes that “skilled immigrants” will help grow the country's economy, and that the forthcoming plans would “make it easy and straightforward for those students who are interested in staying in South Africa after graduating to do so.” The minister's statements indicate that the plans will be directed specifically at international students because they offer the advantage of having in-country training and certification.

Gigaba expressed confidence that degrees from South African institutions would help international students “transition seamlessly into their chosen fields.” To this end, the country aims to make the visa application process as smooth and efficient as possible while simultaneously working to make South African universities top destinations for students from around the globe.

During the Dialogue, Gigaba also discussed ideas of South Africa's 'national question,' social cohesion, and nation-building. He also challenged the delegates to approach him with questions and concerns regarding student life in South Africa. The minister assured them that the Home Office wants “to hear [students' concerns, criticisms, and aspirations]” because of the opportunity it affords the Ministry to make changes and developments that help the country to grow. “We are a young country on a young continent,” Gigaba told the delegates.