More South African Indians want to leave after July violence
Representational Image (Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP via Getty Images)
EMIGRATION consultants in South Africa have reported a huge rise in enquiries from South African Indians in the wake of the violence and looting that rocked the country’s KwaZulu-Natal province in July.
The province is home to almost a third of South Africa’s 1.4 million citizens of Indian origin who have largely descended from the first settlers who came to the country as indentured labourers and merchants in 1860.
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Nicholar Avramis of Beaver Canadian Immigration Consultants, an emigration firm that works on Canadian applications from the African nation, told businessinsider.co.za that its client base, which was about 10 per cent Indian in the month of July, could grow four times before 2021 concludes.
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According to Avramis, interest was particularly high from women-headed and extended families with cash or business that can be shifted. Other consultants said interest in emigrating to Australia and the UK was high.
“We believe there is still a huge, huge level of interest in getting out of the country,” Robbie Ragless, managing director of New World Immigration, told the website.
Also unprecedented enquiries were reported about emigration to mainland Europe, something which was seen less in the Indian community, the agents said.
Though the Indian missions in South Africa could not provide details, a reliable source said there had been a doubling of enquiries about the OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card after the July unrest, Press Trust of India reported.
The OCI card provides long term visa-free travel and stay in India and gives the cardholders a host of privileges normally not given to foreign nationals and is highly popular among overseas Indians. So far, India has issued about 37.72 lakh (3.77 million) OCI Cards.
The rise in emigration enquiries started following the massive arson and looting in July when protests about former South African president Jacob Zuma starting a 15-month sentence for contempt of court turned ugly. He has since been on medical parole. Many of the businesses that were hurt during the violence belonged to Indians and some had stakes in national or multinational corporations that were affected.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had called the incident “a failed insurrection”, as police failed to take action for several days until he called in the army to quell the unrest.
Tensions also continue in the greater Durban area between the Indian and Black community after vigilantes in the mainly Indian suburb of Phoenix saw more than 33 Black people who entered their township during the unrest dead.