Many South Africans are starting to look to the UK when planning for their children’s future. A big factor for many is the concern over the state of tertiary education in South Africa. While these worries are founded, you don’t have to uproot yourself and your family to provide your children with the chance to complete their studies in the UK.

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You’re thinking of emigrating, but first consider this...

First, let’s consider a move to the UK from a property point of view. You will likely sell your house in South Africa and if you clear R4 - 5 million in the sale, you’ll be able to purchase a two-bedroom house, with no garden, in a place like Tooting in the UK. Not bad, but hardly luxurious.

This is already a big step back in your quality of life, which is perhaps more important for some than others, but your housing situation is undeniably a major concern when immigrating to the UK.

The costs involved in the move are also significant. The sheer amount of time and money it takes to relocate your family’s life and ship it to England is enough to bring a tear to one’s eye. Then, once you’re there, you’ll have to consider the costs involved in sending your kids to decent schools. This alone could hit £30,000 per year per child, after tax.

All these factors, in addition to the hyper-competitive job market in the UK, mean it will likely take you several years to regain the salary and concomitant quality of life you had built up for yourself in South Africa.

Don’t move just for the sake of your children

You must be very clear as to why you are leaving South Africa. If you are leaving so that your children can go to a UK university, we think you should consider something slightly different.

South Africa’s private school system is still top-notch and there are also many quintile 5 schools (formerly called Model-C) that offer excellent curriculums to students. This means you can comfortably keep your children in school in South Africa until they’re ready to go to university.

So, this is our suggestion: Stay living in South Africa. Enjoy the life you have built here while you begin saving for an international tertiary education for your children.

While you’re enjoying the sunshine and wide open spaces we will set up a Pound-based savings plan for you that will one day enable you to send your children to a UK university.

Over and above this, our immigration experts will help your child apply for their Student visa when the time comes.

A UK education for your children: Your legacy

Once your child has graduated from a UK university, they may want to apply for a visa and begin working and living in the UK.

One of the benefits that comes with being a UK university graduate is that your children will be in the front of the line when it comes to applying for the most popular UK work permit, the Tier 2 (General) visa.

Not only is the Tier 2 visa programme routinely over-subscribed by non-UK citizens, but the UK also requires employers to first advertise positions to British citizens before they can offer jobs to foreigners. However, jobs that are offered to non-British UK university graduates are exempt from this requirement.

This is a huge boon to your children as they can easily establish their lives in the UK after their graduation should they choose to do so.

Once your child has been on a Tier 2 visa for five years they can begin the process of applying for British citizenship. Should they have children, this can be passed on; meaning that you can begin to build a legacy that lasts for generations by making a sound investment today.

Don’t just worry, start planning

Just because you are worried about the situation in South Africa doesn’t mean you need to head for the hills. Our immigration and wealth experts will be there every step of the way for you and your children to make sure you set your family’s future up in the best possible way.

If you’d like to talk about this programme give us a call on +27 (21) 657 2180 or send an email to

We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you'll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.