Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
sor them for a work visa. Candidates for this visa scheme, however, were expected to
have a substantial sum of money in the bank in order to be granted the visa, which in
effect closed this option off to most black South Africans. Ancestral visas are offered to
Commonwealth citizens aged seventeen or over with a grandparent and in some cases
great-grandparent born in the UK and they allow the bearer to work for five years in the
UK, followed by the opportunity to gain citizenship. British nationality is available to
anyone with a British-born parent if it is claimed by the age of seventeen. Because of
the UK's membership of the European Union (EU), since the Maastricht Treaty became
law in 1993, any South African in possession of citizenship of any EU country is also
eligible to reside in the UK (this has been the case for Irish citizens since the UK Parlia-
ment passed the Ireland Act 1949).
In addition, until 2009 South Africans benefited from visa-free access to the UK as
session of South African passports by non-South African nationals). There are other av-
enues through which South Africans can enter the UK on a permanent or temporary
basis, but these are the three most common routes, and are the ones that arise directly
out of the historical relationship between South Africa and the UK, and have flowed
through family trees via previous histories of transnational migration.
ies like a Venn diagram, in increasingly smaller scales, from less to more contingent
on sociocultural factors such as class and education. The working holiday visa thus en-
compasses all South Africans without British parentage—especially Afrikaans speak-
ers who constitute the majority of South African whites, and who through colonial- and
apartheid-era privilege would be more likely than blacks to have access to the financial
means required, while the ancestral visa includes South Africans of British descent with
not insubstantial numbers (perhaps 600,000) with at least one British parent.
UK Passports
In the following quotations respondents with British parents, such as Gary, Maureen,
Daniel, and Greg, all of whom therefore possess UK nationality, repeatedly indicate the
ease of moving to and working in the UK for South Africans with access to UK pass-
ports. Not coincidentally it is striking how respondents draw on family histories of mi-
gration from the UK to South Africa:
Zambia I think in the 1970s, and then he moved down to South Africa
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