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POST-COVID 19: CANADA SET TO WELCOME MORE NIGERIAN IMMIGRANTS


In 2019, Nigeria became the fourth-leading source country of new immigrants to Canada, only behind India, China, and the Philippines. A total of 12,600 Nigerians gained permanent residence last year, which represents a tripling of Nigerian immigration to Canada since 2015. A vast majority of Nigerians came to Canada as economic class immigrants. The main way that Canada manages economic class immigration applications is through Express Entry program. A new economic immigration route, the StartUp Visa has recently been introduced by the Canadian government to attract entrepreneurs and self-employed persons who are interested in permanently migrating to Canada to launch or grow their businesses. Why Nigerian immigration to Canada is rising Several reasons explain the increase in Nigerian immigration to Canada. The oil-rich nation has seen its economic growth slow since the decline in global oil prices in 2014. Nigeria’s economy was growing by around 5% per year leading up to 2014, but growth has since declining to around 2 per cent annually. As a result, more Nigerian professionals have pursued the quest to migrate to countries such as Canada in search of economic opportunity. Canada is an attractive destination for Nigerians because it offers economic opportunities in sectors which are appealing to Nigerian professionals, such as oil and gas, ICT, health care, real estate, service, finance, and other fields.


As soon as thecovid19 pandemic has been contained and we return to a sense of normalcy, we should continue to expect higher levels of Nigerian immigration to Canada. Global oil prices have plummeted once again, which will create economic challenges for oil-rich countries around the world. Canada’s rising immigration levels over the coming years will open up more economic class immigration spots, including through the StartUp visa. Canada’s openness to immigrants also runs in stark contrast to other countries which have historically welcomed high levels of Nigerian immigrants, such as the United States and Great Britain. The recent U.S. decision to expand its travel ban to include Nigeria may result in more prospective Nigerian immigrants looking to Canada. When you add these factors together, it is reasonable to expect further increases in the number of Nigerian immigrants welcomed by Canada.


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