In 2019, Nigeria became the fourth-leading source country of newcomers to Canada, behind India, China, and the Philippines. A total of 12,600 Nigerians obtained Canadian permanent residence last year, a figure which tripled Nigerian immigration to Canada in 2015.
The larger part of Nigerians came to Canada as economic class immigrants. The major way that Canada manages economic class immigration applications is via Express Entry, and sixty-six (65) per cent of Nigerian immigrants obtained permanent resident status through Express Entry in 2019.
Last year, Nigeria actually was the third-leading source country of those who got invitations for permanent residence under Express Entry.
Nigerian Immigration to Canada is booming
Several factors can explain the increase in Nigerian immigration to Canada.
The oil-rich country has seen its economic growth slowed since the fall in global oil prices in 2014. Nigeria’s economy was growing by around five (5) per cent per year leading up to 2014, but growth has since decreased to around two (2) per cent annually.
As a result, more Nigerian highly skilled professionals have sought to come to countries such as Canada in pursuit of “greener pasture” (a common palance for those seeking economic opportunities in overseas.)
Canada is an attractive country for Nigerians because it offers economic opportunities in industries which are appealing to Nigerian professionals, such as ICT, oil and gas, public/health care, and other STEM-related fields.
Nigerian highly skilled workers may also fare better under Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Factors such as English-language abilities, having a high level of education, and having professional work experience are all taken into consideration when immigration applicants lodge Express Entry profiles, factors which the Nigerian workers who immigrate to Canada possess.
Given that the English language is their mother tongue, Nigerians have a higher advantage under Express Entry compared with most other nationalities since English-language abilities comprises a major component of the CRS.
Canada set to welcome more Nigerian immigrants Post-coronavirus
Once the coronavirus crisis has been contained and the whole world return to normalcy, we should continue to anticipate higher levels of Nigerian immigration to Canada.
Global oil prices have dropped once again, which will create economic problems for oil-rich nations around the world.
Canada’s rising immigration level plan in the coming years will open up more economic class migration spots, including through Express Entry.
Canada’s liberal approach to immigrants also runs in contrast to other countries which have historically welcomed high number of Nigerian immigrants, such as Great Britain and the United States. The recent United States decision to extend its travel ban to include Nigeria may result in more prospective Nigerian immigrants looking to Canada as the next destination.
Currently, there are also more Nigerians studying in Canada. It is estimated that about 12,000 Nigerian students are in Canada, and these students will be well-placed or poised to transition to permanent resident status due to their English language proficiency, Canadian education, Canadian work experience and youth.
When you put all these factors together, it is reasonable to anticipate further increases in the number of Nigerian immigrants welcomed by Canada.