By Adebayo Obajemu
Canada has suddenly become a destination of choice for young Nigerians who desire to travel abroad for greener pastures. The economic dislocation currently ravaging the country is compounded by insecurity in the land and high level of criminality.
Unemployment has reached a record level of 33 percent, while education system is further dislocated by the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, policy inconsistencies and a whole lot of other challenges. Thus, the small matter of relocating to Canada has in the last couple of years become big and got everyone talking.
Yet, many keep wondering why Nigerians are constantly moving to other countries, particularly Canada. However, while people ponder, the steady migration continues with others seeking ways to reach their “promised land.”
Canada is reported to be offering 90,000 slots for new immigration in 2021, and many Nigerians will be part of the number. A lot of factors such as those mentioned above and a lot more are responsible for the growing interest in Canada as being witnessed now.
The Chief Executive of EduPlus, a consulting firm which has educational agreements with foreign universities, Dr. Olufemi Omoyele told this newspaper that “The rush for foreign education is high, and we cannot blame young Nigerians and even adults going abroad.
Many of them prepare to go to Canada. This is because Canada offers the best opportunities for foreign students. Beside, the country is most friendly with international emigrants. Here at Edu Plus, this year alone, more than 800 applicants have been treated.”
An applicant who identified himself as Seyi, a banker said he sold his car a year ago to send his wife to Canada.
“There is no country here, we don’t need to deceive ourselves; Nigeria is a time bomb. Right now, I am making effort to join her in that glorious country called Canada”, he said in a chat with this newspaper.
Kemilola Ojo, a fashion designer is also planning to relocate to Canada. When asked the reason her reply was shocking. “Do I have to wait to be murdered in cold blood by a Fulani herdsman or bandit?”
Juliet Nwachukwu, a nurse did not even mince words. Her own reason for going to Canada is to live a better life. When asked why Canada and not any country, she said Canada offers more opportunities to foreigners and most friendly.
Omoyele says other factors make Canada more attractive to Nigeria. These factors include;
Broad mindedness of most Canadians
Canada is said to have one of the most broad-minded people in the whole world, the welcoming nature of the people is well noted by foreigners, and this is one of the reasons for the powerful pull Canada has on people.
Canada is said to be one of the most diverse countries that promote multiculturalism. It is known for accepting immigrants from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Canada, among other nations, is seen as one of the countries with the highest immigration rates. This receptiveness has made it an attractive destination for Nigerians.
Canada is also known for its job opportunities in multiple fields. These opportunities are also open to skilled immigrants. The Canadian government has revealed plans to introduce more immigrants into the workforce to bridge the gap in some sectors of the economy in 2021.
This plan is seen as an avenue to create opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled individuals ready to settle down, which is a dream come true for most Nigerians who aim to find work outside the country.
Canada is known for its subsidized and high-quality education system. It offers graduate visa programs with a diverse range of education options for Nigerians hoping to pursue an education outside Nigeria. According to latest statistics, more than 14,000 Nigerian students are currently studying in Canadian institutions.
Accessible immigration system
Various immigration offers provide immigrants opportunities to relocate to the country. Canada’s open and well-regulated immigration system is part of the reasons why Canada has become a viable option for Nigerians according to BH investigation.
With all the benefits, many people are curious about the immigration process. Relocating to Canada will require obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Canada. This process involves assessing one’s eligibility, meeting requirements, and submitting the application for a permanent resident card. The requirements and steps depend on the path you take which centers on two main categories:
Provincial Nominee Program
Most of the Provinces and territories in Canada offer programs that address the skills that are lacking in the local economy. The Provincial Nominee Program is a program that focuses on individuals who have the education, skills, and work experience to contribute to the economy of a particular Province.
The program centres on graduates, semi-skilled and skilled workers. Each of the Provinces has streams designated to meet the needs of their labour markets that usually target particular categories of people. According to Business Hallmark’s investigation, artisans also constitute a large chunk of Nigerians making efforts to relocate to Canada.
The Provincial Nominee Program allows different Provinces in Canada to nominate individuals interested in settling in a particular province. The program aims at enhancing a broader and even distribution of immigrants across the country.
Steps required for the Provincial Nominee Program:
Immigrants are required to apply for nomination to the Province they want to live in. Immigrants need to possess the necessary skills, qualifications, and work experience for the Province to nominate them. When approved by the Province, applicants should submit another application to the government for Canadian permanent resident status.
Express Entry System
Express Entry System is a system created by the Canadian government to address labour market shortages in the economy. The express entry system consists of immigration programs that enable skilled individuals to migrate to Canada as residents. The system offers some federal programs for skillful or experienced workers under the following categories:
Federal Skilled Trades Program for candidates who are certified and skilled in particular trades. Federal Skilled Worker Program for skilled workers who have qualifications with a minimum of one year of work experience.
Canada Experience Class for candidates who have worked in certain occupations in Canada for at least one year.
Adeola Oduoye, Chief Executive Officer at Savant Educational Tourism, a travelling agency that connects young Nigerians to universities in Canada told this newspaper that “Canada is the best country to go now because of the diverse opportunities there. Sweden and other Scandinavian countries like Norway have good opportunities for emigrants but because of language barrier, many prefer to go to Canada.”
He further stated that the situations of the country today have created fear in the mind of not only young Nigerians but also older ones. There is so much uncertainty he said, and those who can afford to travel are latching on to the opportunities.
In 2019 about 12,600 Nigerians are said to have immigrated to Canada. They mostly arrived as economic class skilled workers. Owing to higher immigration from Nigeria, Canada’s Nigerian diaspora may likely increase to 75,000 from its level of 42,000 Nigerians living in the country as of the 2016 Census.
BusinessHallmark learnt that Canada recently announced a historic Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023 that will see the country welcome over 400,000 immigrants per year. The new Immigration Levels Plan means that even more Nigerians will be immigrating to Canada moving forward