The United Kingdom is one of the top emigration destinations for South Africans, and skilled young professionals continue to flood out of South Africa in favour of better prospects overseas.
Notwithstanding the cost of emigration, it is not easy to move to the UK, and it can be even more difficult for those without citizenship or a specialised visa.
For those with specific skills, however, the process can be a lot easier.
This is because the UK offers a Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa to foreigners who are offered jobs in industries where there is a high demand for skilled professionals.
Professionals who qualify for this visa and are offered a job in the UK can stay for a period of up to five years.
New immigration rules
The UK recently opened applications for its new Tier 2 visa programme based on its post-Brexit immigration system that will be effective from 1 January 2021.
“Under the points-based immigration system, points will be awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, knowledge of English and being paid a minimum salary,” the UK government stated.
“Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.”
“The new immigration rules will ensure that businesses can recruit the most highly qualified from across the globe to drive the economy forwards and keep the UK at the frontier of innovation,” the country added.
To obtain a skilled worker visa, applicants must have a job offer in one of the high-demand positions listed in the skills shortage list.
We have detailed the tech-related positions on the UK skills shortage list below.
|Chemical Scientists||Only jobs in the nuclear industry|
|Biological scientists and biochemists||All jobs|
|Physical scientists||Only the following jobs in the construction-related ground engineering industry:
• engineering geologist
• geophysicistOnly the following jobs in the oil and gas industry:
• technical services manager in the decommissioning and waste areas of the nuclear industry
• senior resource geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector
|Civil engineers||All jobs|
|Mechanical engineers||All jobs|
|Electrical engineers||All jobs|
|Electronics engineers||All jobs|
|Design and development engineers||All jobs|
|Production and process engineers||All jobs|
|Engineering professions not elsewhere classified||All jobs|
|IT business analysts, architects, and systems designers||All jobs|
|Programmers and software development professionals||All jobs|
|Web design and development professionals||All jobs|
|Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified||Only cybersecurity specialists|
|2425 Actuaries, economists and statisticians – only bio-informaticians and informaticians||Only bio-informaticians and informaticians|
|Quality control and planning engineers||All jobs|
|Graphic designers||All jobs|
|Secondary education teaching professionals||Only teachers in maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science, and Mandarin|
IT salaries in the UK
Remuneration for IT-related positions in the UK is much higher than it is locally.
However, it is important to note that the cost of living in the UK, especially in cities such as London, is considerably high.
It is far more expensive to rent an apartment in London than in Johannesburg, and the property you will get for the same price will be nowhere near as large.
Below are the average salaries for 10 popular IT jobs in South Africa and the UK.
The UK salary figures are listed in pounds (GBP) and are paired with a converted South African rand figure for comparison.
|IT Salary Comparison|
|Job||South Africa||United Kingdom|
|Computer Support Specialist||R174,500||£21,268 (R455,440)|
|Web Developer||R194,817||£25,528 (R546,666)|
|Database Administrator||R203,277||£30,053 (R643,566)|
|System Administrator||R232,483||£25,471 (R545,445)|
|Information Security Analyst||R299,073||£33,275 (R712,563)|
|Software Engineer||R367,988||£37,041 (R793,209)|
|DevOps Engineer||R403,376||£41,865 (R896,512)|
|Data Engineer||R450,025||£39,988 (R856,317)|
|IT Manager||R500,685||£40,116 (R859,058)|
|Senior Solutions Architect||R965,437||£72,405 (R1,550,506)|