The number of Nigerians living in Canada crossed 33,000 in 2016 and the number keeps rising.The desire to leave Nigeria and settle in a foreign country for greener pastures has been strong since the economic recession in the early 80s.
The United Kingdom and the United States of America are the two top destinations for Nigerians who want to migrate. Now it seems Canada is the prime destination for middle-class people willing to check out.
According to a 2016 census, there are 68,680 Nigerians living in Canada.
Over the last decade, Canada has become a choice destination for Nigerians wishing to relocate.
However, the migration of Nigerians to Canada can actually be traced to the Biafran War. By 1973, three years after the war, Nigerians were identified separately by immigration authorities.
From 1973 to 1991, there were 3,919 Nigerians in Canada. This number has incrementally increased since then.
Canada is a hot cake for Nigerians willing to move their family but why is this so?
Austin Briggs looks at five reasons why Nigerians are flocking to Canada;
According to Canada Immigrants, over 27,625 Nigerian immigrants resided in Canada in 2011 alone. In 2016, the number crossed 33,000. As at 2017, there were over 11,000 Nigerian students in Canada, according to Sun News Online. These numbers seem to be increasing sporadically as the months go by.
In fact, over 5,000 boarder-crossing refugees through the US into Canada in the first half of 2018 were Nigerians with valid US visas.
1. For Their Kids
Adult Nigerians are moving their families mainly to create a better future for their kids. This year Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world. Opportunities are becoming slimmer and slimmer for young people.
With deteriorating physical living conditions, Nigeria is not the ideal place to raise your child. A lack of a comprehensive health care system, good standard of education, and provision of jobs have served as reasons why Nigerian parents are moving to Canada with their kids. It’s a hope for a better future for them.
2. Skilled Labour
People are quitting high-paying jobs to go join the Skilled Workforce abroad. Nigeria, who used to be fondly referred to as the giant of Africa is now being said to have economic difficulties, lack of jobs and unstable political and physical living conditions.
Many are of the opinion that the grass is greener at the other side and their skills will be more valued abroad than in Nigeria, where they are being taken for granted and undervalued.
This applies to Nigerian doctors and nurses who are leaving the country in droves to countries where they are properly compensated for their expertise.Around the same time, 500 doctors in Canada went on strike for being “paid too much”. Statements like that of the minister make opportunities like this in Canada, being brandished on social media, seem like a gold mine.
3. Immigration Friendly
Canada has been rated as one of the best countries to live in by the United Nations. The country is rich in natural and oil resources and also has some of the best universities in the world. The country has low crime and violence rate and a high standard of living.
Canada presently has no limit on the number of people who can apply for a visa. This is due to the urgent need to refuel their ageing population and workforce. Canada still hopes to admit 85,000 skilled migrants by 2020.
4. Donald Trump
President of the United States, Donald Trump has maintained a hardline on illegal immigration. His tough approach on the matter has seen an upswing in the number of Nigerians seeking asylum in America.
Nigerians notoriously make up a sizable majority of thousands of people who have walked into Canada from the United States to file refugee claims since January 2017.
The trend worried the Canadian government so much that two officials were sent to Lagos earlier this year to work directly with their counterparts in the U.S. visa office This was because many of the Nigerian asylum seekers in Canada were observed to have arrived bearing valid U.S. visas after having spent very little time in the States.
In a Vanguard article published on July 18, 2017, an immigration Consultant, Taiwo Roluga says Canada is one of the top destinations for young Nigerian adults seeking for a degree because of the high quality of the educational system. According to the article, in 2017, Canada ranked 7th in the World’s Most International Universities list.
In Lagos, you can spot several posters of agencies advertising the possibility of studying in Canada for those interested. Within the last decade, there has been a noticeable increase of young Nigerians furthering their education in Canada. This no doubt has helped increased the number of Nigerians there. According to Canada International, Canada welcomed 10,000 Nigerian students in 2017.