Want to separate fact from fiction when it comes to migration flows to South Africa? Our updated and sourced asylum, refugee and migration statistics for South Africa aim to clearly set out the real numbers for you. See the text below each image for hyperlinked sources to the data.
Only 3-7% of those living in South Africa are foreign nationals (source). This statistic will be made clearer at the next national census, which is due in 2021.
In 2009, 157,204 asylum applications were lodged. This then fell steadily from 2009 – 2011, rising slightly between 2013-2015. Since 2016, the number of asylum applications have been falling steadily hitting 18,104 in 201 (source).
South Africa had 18,104 applications in 2018 and this is less than some other countries in Africa. For example, in 2018, Kenya had 19,3805 and Uganda had 19,6556 individual new asylum applications respectively. (source).
Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Pakistan (source).
It is not possible to track and give an accurate figure of undocumented people in South Africa, the data currently reports on the number of foreign nationals living in South Africa and they are estimated to be between 3 and 7% of the total population (source).
An Amnesty International report found that poor decision-making, including mistakes of fact and lack of sound reasoning by RSDO’s has resulted in a 96% rejection rate of asylum applications (source).
The Refugee Appeals Authority has a backlog of 147 794 cases.
The Department of Home Affairs did not know how many of the 946 314 inactive section 22 applicants (as at 31 December 2017) were still in the country as the various systems were not integrated (source).