The migration of South African graduates to Canada : a survey of medical practitioners in Saskatchewan

Van der Vyver, J. D. ; De Villiers, Pierre J. T. (2000)

CITATION: Van der Vyver, J. D. & De Villiers, P. J. T. 2000. The migration of South African graduates to Canada : a survey of medical practitioners in Saskatchewan. South African Family Practice, 22(1):17-22.

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Aim of study: To determine the socio-demographic profile of South African doctors who have permanently emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada, and to find out why they left, how they have adapted and if they intend returning to South Africa. Study design: A cross-sectional postal survey. Method: All South African qualified medical practitioners in Saskatchewan with permanent registration (N=2 l8) were mailed anonymity-assure questionnaires.A second mailing was sent to non-respondents. Results: A 59% (N= 107) response was elicited with 35 returned-to-sende. Most doctors (79%) had left South Africa after 1990. Most (58%) qualified at Afrikaans medium medical schools in South Africa. The male to female ratio was 88: | 2. Seventy-four percent 74%) of respondents were general practitioners. Prior to emigration, 67% of respondents were employed in the South African public service. Most doctors (59%) earned between R525 000 and R876 000 per year in Canada. Violence was the most important reason for leaving South Africa, followed by perceived economic problems in South Africa and adverse working conditions at State health facilities. Adaptation and positive adjustments in a newly acquired country and lifestyle were evident. Returning to South Africa does not seem likely unless crime and violence diminish substantially. Conclusion: Most emigrants were male, recently qualified from all the major medical schools in South Africa, with equal Afrikaans and English speaking proportions.They left mainly because of fear for their personal security and poor working conditions in the South African public health sector.They are well settled in their new country, earn above average incomes in Canada and are very unlikely to return.

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