The well-established internal migration streams from the poor neighbouring provinces to Cape Town are driven by the perception of urban opportunities for employment and a better life. This paper serves to broaden the understanding of the assimilation of immigrants to the Cape Town labour market by means of a discrete-time duration analysis of the time taken to find work after arrival. Low exit rates from unemployment mean that the pool of long-term unemployed stays large and puts pressure on government resources that are required to try and prevent people from falling into abject poverty. The initial unemployment spell of migrants is found to exhibit positive duration dependence as the hazard function increases over time, albeit over long time periods. Estimators for the parameters of a discrete-time hazard model are obtained via maximum likelihood methods. They suggest that the reality of the post-migration urban experience depends on gender, the use of household social networks, proficiency in English, possession of a matric qualification and higher reservation wages.