Migration Experiences

Based on @Blazzok’s comment about them getting ready to emmigrate to Australia, I thought it would be an interesting discussion to get everyone’s views on the topic. So, have you ever considered immigrating? Where would your ideal destination be? How far down the line have you been if you attempted it before? How was the application experience for you?

So many questions… :smile:

Personally, I’ve considered it numerous times. At one point I was even offered an opportunity, all expenses paid, to move to Sunshine Coast (just North of Brisbane in Australia). I decided against it to rather focus in growing our development company. Many years ago the wife and I were also well on our way, completing the IELTS tests and the like. We stopped just before paying the visa fees…

One day I’d like to make the move to Europe though. I feel the culture in the various countries is a huge draw for me and the weather and climate is more to my tastes than Africa or Australia.


I want to but I am too financially and age challenged to do so. Always wanted to leave, never could. I am actively encouraging my kids to leave as soon as they can. My wife does not like that idea but she agrees it is best.

I want them to get out of this hellhole where I could not.

I would go anywhere where there is a stable government, where the criminals will rob you blind but leave you alive and untortured and where technology and medicine is affordable.


Having recently done this (I’ve been in the UK since the end of August), I can honestly tell you a number of things.

  • you need to save money, initial “fees” can be a killer and some stuff you’ll have to pay upfront.
  • you have 0 credit history
  • adjusting to the new brand of certain things can take a little while

Now the good stuff

  • the choice is ridiculous. I’ll take something simple like bread… My local village CoOp has 22 different types it stocks. The Tesco down the road stocks 43.
  • internet is true broadband
  • cars are cheap (insurance and tax not quite), but you pretty much don’t actually need a car
  • one person can earn enough for you to live comfortably.
  • schools are free and good, I’m fact the “average” rated school in the village is better that the Curro my kid went to in SA

TLDR - its worth it


At age 26 just after I got back from my travels to the UK, I applied to immigrate to Australia. I was sponsored by my sister and her husband who immigrated at least 10 years before that. Back then I spent the last of my UK savings - R40k in total, to be declined on the fact that even tho Cape Technikon was accredited and linked to a uni in Melbourne, my diploma in Public Relations was worth less than the paper it was printed on.

I’m officially to old now, unless I strike the jackpot and win a green card for the USA (my stepping stone to Canada). I have distant cousins in Canada and I would move there in a heartbeat.

The hotel that I worked for in the UK, went as far as inquiring what it would take to get me a proper working visa that would allow me to immigrate there. I was seriously considering a mate of mine’s offer to marry him for staying power. Some days I still wake up kicking myself for not doing it.

Even back then the UK (I was there during the London train bombings), was such a different lifestyle. I was earning enough to live in a pretty nice house that we shared with 2 other people. I didn’t have a car but with the busses and tube I didn’t need one, I had no debt, I had no issue living on my paycheck, unlike now were I am surviving on it.
It still is my biggest regret.

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Just so you have an idea of some basic fees and payments :

  • Visa is £610 per person
  • IELTS Test £200
  • NHS surcharge £600 per person/year (max 5 years)
  • TB test £100 per person

After that, you need flights (£300 minimum per person), accommodation (in London you’re screwed) at least until you get a rental, however you need a bank at the very least. You can’t secure a rental without physically being in the UK. Then you need a bank account, which you need proof of address for.

Cars in the UK tend to be dirt cheap, but insurance and tax around cars can be tricky to navigate. You can buy a Subaru Impreza WRX STi for the same price as a VW Golf TDi, but the tax on the Subaru will be £~2000 per year, where the Golf will be around £200. Insurance will vary, but can easily be more than the price of the car.

Food is an interesting thing in the UK. I’ll do the “food basket” thing as per my quick investigation today :

  • Nescafe Classic 200g : Woolworths R74.99, Tesco £4.00 (R74.96)
  • Weetbix / Weetabix 900g : Woolworths R45.99, Tesco £ 2.50 (R46.85)
  • Sugar 2kg : R40.99 vs £ 1.35 (R25.30)
  • Coke Zero 2l : R17.99 vs £ 1.66 (R 31,11)
  • Norwegian Salmon 500g : R254.99 vs £6.90 (R129,30)
  • Pork chops 500g : R 59.99 vs £3(R56.22)

etc etc etc


Interesting to see the normal cost of living there… If you don’t mind, would you share a couple more day to day expenses and how they compare to ZA? Stuff like short- and long term insurance, internet and entertainment costs, etc?

Also, your point about a small family being able to live on a single income. It’s what’s been my biggest concern so far, as without my wife’s salary we’d struggle quite a bit. We’d be able to survive, but we’ll have to sacrifice quite a few luxuries in life.


So a quick breakdown :

  • Accommodation will be your single biggest expense, depending on your needs this can be as little as £900 pm for a 2 bedroom place to £1500+ for a 3-5 bedroom depending on area. Then you’ll (depending on the property type) pay Council Tax, Electricity, Gas (can be combined with Electricity) and Water. These can be billed Monthly, Quarterly, Bi-annually or annually.
  • Car insurance varies greatly, but can be as little as £200 per year
  • household contents insurance £150 per year

Eating out is a “treat” as you’ll easily pay £10-£15 per person easily. Where I can cook a meal at home for £5 to £10 quite easily.

The funny thing with food here is that all the unhealthy stuff is taxed to the point where financially it doesn’t make sense to buy it.


We sitting with job offers in Brunei, UAE and UK, we have a month to decide if we want to go or not.
Brunei and UAE are on the fact my wife is a teacher. They will pay airfares, visas etc. Give us free housing, medical aid etc.
The salary is tasty as it’s tax free, but what’s holding me back is being so far away from my family.
My wife is British and also has an offer to teach in the Devon area. My sister in law lives in Ivy Bridge and a good friend plays rugby in Exeter so we have friends in the area which will help.

If we do go we will go the Brunei route first to live +an adventure and make some moola before settling down.

I’m the hand break. My wife is ready to go, but I’m not sure it’s worth going over now. I believe in South Africa


I believe in aliens

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My opinion, for what it’s worth: if you have the opportunity to earn an honest wage in a currency stronger than the rand and save a reasonable amount every month (retirement annuities, other investments, and rainy day savings if possible) — do it.

You can always return to South Africa if you want to, and if you do you will do so with professional experience that will be an asset to the country. Not to mention with a pension/savings that will go much further than if you had earned and saved in rand.


This is an interesting read, thank you. Great thread.

We’re not considering it at this point, but we’re discussing it. The biggest concern for us is leaving our parents (and the rest of our family) behind. There are certain political criteria that would make us move, but that hasn’t been met yet.
It’s not very easy for me or my wife to go work in another country, as our degrees is quite well regulated across the world. We might have to pass board exams and stuff. One of the biggest reasons for studying further is so that I’d be able to work almost anywhere in the world. It will then be easier to jump ship if we have to.

I’d really like to emigrate to Europe, don’t know where specific. or even Canada. NZ or Aus is also on the table, my sister is already in Aus.

I believe in aliens, but I also have a high regard for ol’ Cyri


As fate would have it, a friend whom I studied with 13 years ago approached me late this afternoon with an offer to join him in Canada. He’s fairly high up at a Canadian bank on the tech side and lamented the lack of skill and talent on that side… He said I should just say the word and I’ll be on a plane with my bags packed for a very extended trip.

Truth be told, it would be difficult to make the move right now. I’m building a good brand for our company and an even better reputation for myself currently. We just got our first baby. Our house is 5 years into bond repayments and we absolutely love the place. Lastly, my mother-in-law has been staying with us since her husband’s passing 3 years ago… So there are quite a couple of factors keeping us around for at least another couple of years.

I have a natural sense of wanderlust, curiosity and adventure that’s always begging me to explore new places. Currently that’s limited to areas within ZA borders that I can drive to within a couple of hours. I’ve been outside the borders of the country before, but never outside Africa (besides Mauritius). When people recall holidays or working stints in places like UK, US or Europe I always listen with a sense of envy inside me and imagine the climate, people, culture and scenery that I’ve missed out on. With 40 approaching rapidly, I’m always worried that I’ll miss out on my greatest desire in live - to see and experience Europe in all its medieval, mountainous, snowy glory.


Go, don’t look back. Best thing you will ever do in your entire life.

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The following countries are ones to consider for various reasons.

  • Ireland
    – Loads of tech companies here
    – very favourable tax rates
    – free schooling
    – functional national healthcare system
  • Netherlands
    – Loads of startups (especially in the tech and finance industry)
    – 30% tax ruling for migrants
    – Free school up to age 16
    – English is widely spoken as a 2nd language, by widely I mean 100% of the working population can fully understand and communicate in English
  • Germany
    – Traditional industry and financial organizations are a big chunk of the market
    – Very migrant friendly
  • UK
    – Tech, Legal and Finance industries rule the roost. However there are also film, media and entertainment industry HQs around. Lots of career opportunities.
    – Taxation is similar to SA
    – Schools are free for the kids, this also includes lunch for primary school kids.
    – NHS, and it works
  • Canada
    – Tighter job market compared to anywhere else
    – Functional government
  • USA
    – Insanely hard to get a work permit, but once you have one you’ll find loads of opportunities for almost any career you can imagine (City/State depending). So if your dream is the become a Doggy Swim Instructor or a professional underwater basket weaver then the US might just be the place for you
    – The US is a pay-to-win version of Canada
  • Australia
    – Weather is 85% similar to South Africa
    – Every animal will try to kill you
    – Internet speed sucks
    – Loads of South Africans
    – Rules and laws are there to keep you safe.
  • New Zealand
    – See Australia ad remove the comment about weather.

That seems like quite an adequate summary based on my own investigations as well. Dammit man, you’re making me want to move this weekend!

A note on Germany though - a friend (of German heritage who speaks the language at home and with family) once told me that the Germans struggle to accept non-Germans into their society. The problem gets exasperated the smaller the town is you find yourself in. They’ll happily accept tourists, but if you aren’t of German descent you’ll pretty much be a social outcast for the rest of your tenure in the country. It’s the reason he opted to migrate to an English-speaking country and not his “native homeland”.


Yup, you’ll never be German enough for Germany. However for a tax and laws perspective they’ve made it easy for people to go there. I know a couple of people that stay in Germany, and it took them years to be considered “passable”

The trick apparently is to be less foreign and just do things the German way.

The UK has been interesting thus far, seems like the UK people love my slightly mangled SA accent. My wife says that my speech pattern is slightly changing. We can definitely hear the kid pronouncing certain words in a more British accent since starting school. Driving in the UK is an absolute pleasure for a number of reasons. NO MINIBUS TAXIs, nobody speeds at all ever because they will fine you for driving 31MPH in a 30MPH zone. We live on a “busy” road in a small village. The village only has North/South and East/West roads in/out of it, so it can get busy during peak times. But if you indicate to turn into the road people actually stop their cars for you to get in. There is a pecking order for giving way, larger vehicles almost always give way to smaller and if you’re on a bicycle or a pedestrian you pretty much have right of way unless a sign tells you otherwise.


UK Broadband/ISP prices :

Everything is uncapped, so I’ll only give speed and price

11Mbps @ £15.90 (R296.54)

35Mbps @ £21.00 (R391.66)

50Mbps @ £25 (R466.26)

100Mpbs @ £32 (R596.82)

362Mbps @ £42 (R783.32)

However you can (with for instance Virgin Media) get Broadband + Internet + Telephone for £~50 pm and that’s 343 channels, 100+Mbps fiber and some calling plan.

Other stuff that you can also take into consideration with this is that you can with Sky, Virgin and BT’s devices record up to 6 shows simultaneously, watch on up to 3 TV sets (no additional costs) and you’ll be able to stream to 3+ additional devices.


That was the one thing I missed, we paid 15 pounds for 10mbps, uncapped, homechoice was the tv provider with sky and about 100 other channels, and we had unlimited calls to local uk numbers.

Please adopt me !!!

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Was it the internet or TV options that sold it? Personally, I wouldn’t migrate to another country based only on those factors… Currently education, safety, healthcare and job opportunities rank for my son rank highest. I’m quite comfortable with my job and the lifestyle I can afford here, so for selfish reasons I wouldn’t consider moving.