Every year thousands of Nigerians immigrate to Canada from Nigeria, and the numbers have been increasing in recent years.
In 2019, Nigeria was the second leading country of citizenship of successful Express Entry candidates, ranking only behind India.
Approximately, 12,595 Nigerians obtained Canadian permanent residence, and about 11,985 obtained their education in Canada. This has increased significantly from the 4,090 who came to Canada in 2015. There were about 42,430 Nigerians residing in Canada in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.
Nigerians who wish to immigrate to Canada have over One-hundred (100) economic-class pathways to choose from. The best immigration program for each person will depend on their individual goals and circumstances.
Below is an overview of some of the immigration pathways that Nigerians can pursue to get Canadian permanent residence.
Express Entry system
Canada normally invites interested candidates to file for permanent residence. The most direct route to get invited to apply for immigration is to lodge a profile to the Express Entry system.
The Express Entry system manages applications for three main Canadian immigration programs: Federal Skilled Trades Program, Federal Skilled Worker Program, and Canadian Experience Class.
Eligible candidates are awarded a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on their work experience, education, age, and official language proficiency.
Candidates with the highest scores are invited to apply for Canadian immigration through Express Entry draws which normally takes place every two weeks.
Candidates do not need to have a job offer to be nominated from an Express Entry draw.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is still conducting Express Entry draws. The past two draws have been among the biggest that the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has ever held.
IRCC is also giving candidates extra time to submit their documents that they are not able to get due to COVID-19 restrictions, closures, and service disruptions.
The Canadian government aims to process applications for immigration candidates in six (6) months. If an individual profile stays in the Express Entry pool for more than one year, the individual can simply lodge their profile again to re-enter the pool.
If a Nigerian candidate is not qualified for Express Entry they can also be able to immigrate to Canada via one of the Provincial Nominee Programs.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
Provincial nominee programs allow Canadian provinces and territories to select economic-class immigration candidates who support their labor market needs. Nigerian candidates who wish to work and settle in a specific province or territories can key into these programs.
Most Canadian provinces and territories have at least one provincial nomination program that is aligned to Express Entry.
When a PNP is linked or aligned with the Express Entry system they are known as “enhanced streams.” Candidates who obtain provincial nominations through enhanced streams receive anextra 600 CRS points, which practically assures that a candidate will be invited in a future Express Entry draw.
Depending on the stream or program, an “enhanced stream” may roll out invitations based on either provincial expression of interest (EOI) scores or the CRS points.
The other type of provincial nominee programs is called a “base” stream, which means it is not linked to the federal Express Entry system. These streams support the provinces’ individual objective, and may or may not use a scoring system to nominate candidates.
Candidates who may not be eligible for the Express Entry pool, but who fit the required skills needed in a particular province may be qualified for a provincial nomination through a base stream.
Nigerians who want to immigrate to Quebec province must go through their economic immigration program. Skilled worker may go through Quebec’s Regular Skilled Worker Program which operates under an expression of interest system.
History of Nigerian immigration to Canada
Nigerians began migrating to Canada during the 1967–1970 Biafra War. Nigerians were not broken out separately in immigration statistics until 1973. 3,919 landed immigrants of Nigerian nationality arrived in Canada from 1973 to 1991.
There is a significant number of Nigerians living in the Greater Toronto Area, especially in Brampton and Etobicoke. In the 2016 Census, 51,800 people identified themselves as Nigerians, with over half living in Ontario.
There are many more Nigerians in Canada, who identified themselves by their tribe instead of their country – such as 9,600 as Yoruba, 5,600 as Igbo, and 1,900 as Edo. There has also been a steady increase in the number of Nigerians living in the western cities of Canada, such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.