Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of South Africans have immigrated to other countries, looking for a better life. Because they share a similar climate and standard of living, as well as sharing a similar history of being colonial countries under British rule, Australia is one of the most popular destinations for South African families.
The majority of over 100,000 South African immigrants, 50%, have settled in Sydney. Perth has the next largest population of South Africans, 30%, followed by Melbourne, with 15% and the rest, 5%, are spread out in Brisbane and Adelaide.
In the 1990’s, most of the immigrants to Australia from South Africa were professionals. In the last decade, more workers from all trades have chosen to relocate there, but the majority of South Africans are still employed in a professional field or management. Australia is currently in need of some specific job skills, including IT, nurses, teachers, accountants and engineers, as well as trades such as plumbers, bricklayers and hairdressers, and it is likely many of these will be filled by more South African immigrants in the years to come.
There are seveal organizations in Australia that give support and advice to South African immigrants, many of them focused on business. The online magazine, Sabona, the South African Network in South Australia, the Australia Africa Business Council, and SA Connections, all help build cooperation among expatriate South African business people and encourage their success in the competitive Australian business community.
Other organizations help the expatriate South Africans feel at home in Australia by keeping them informed and connected with each other. AfricanOz, Afrikaans Club of Australia and SAAustralia Forums are a few groups that put people together to discuss issues and share experiences. There are even shops where a relocated South African can purchase goodies from home when he is feeling slightly homesick.
South African transplants spend their free time in Australia much the same way they did back home. Sports are a major pasttime and the same ones, rugby, soccer and cricket, are popular in both countries. Spending time with friends and family and hanging out at the local pub or the beach are popular activities as well. There are also many social clubs specifically designed to promote friendships and social activity among expatriates, such as the African Club of Queensland, the SA Social Club of Sydney, and the Australian South African Club.
Overall, South Africans have adapted quite well to life in Australia and most look forward to a bright future for generations to come. When they do feel homesick, however, there are always cheap international flights to get them home for a visit.