The distrust of foreign nationals among locals had increased from 60% in 2008 to 67% in 2011.
The survey was conducted among 2 400 adult South Africans from rural and urban areas in October and November last year.
The research was executed by Afrobarometer in partnership with the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (Idasa).
The actual data collection was done by Citizens Surveys. It was aimed at gauging South Africans' perceptions and attitudes on migration.
Forty-four percent of the respondents disagreed with providing protection for asylum seekers in South Africa.
Close to a third (32%) would take action against migrants moving into their neighbourhood.
Just above the third (36%) of the sample would also stop foreign nationals from operating businesses in South Africa.
Sixty-three percent of the sample said government had failed to adequately manage migration issues in South Africa.