The United Kingdom’s plan to reduce the number of foreign workers bringing families into the country creates an opportunity for Nigerians to seek alternatives in countries welcoming foreign families.
Earlier this year, the British government announced immigration restrictions for international students from bringing their families. The policy takes effect in 2024.
“The UK is seriously trying to discourage moving with dependents of students, care workers, etc. The alternative countries that allow people to move with their dependents are Canada, Australia, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and Malta,” @wakawaka_doctor, a travel enthusiast said on X.
Others are Estonia and Austria.
Abraham Okah, another travel enthusiast, said on X that some of the countries are cheap. “You can move to some for free on a scholarship or visa-sponsored.”
Most of the countries in the European region have been reviewing their visa and immigration policies by offering flexible immigration pathways in a bid to attract large, young and vibrant labour force to grow and develop their economy.
According to Toyyib Adelodun, a UK-based immigration consultant, the whole of Europe has a population problem as a result of its aging.
“The restriction will shed more light on other countries looking for skilled workers. Most of the tuition fees in European countries are not expensive but the only problem is the language barrier. But if Nigerians are determined to stay, they can overcome that problem,” he added.
Within one year, Africa’s biggest economy recorded the largest percentage increase of dependents granted health and care work visas by the UK.
Data from the British government shows that Nigeria’s number grew by 329 percent (34,670) to 45,203 in the year ending September 2023 from 10,533 in the year ending 2022.
“For visas granted to student dependents, there were 60,506 Nigerian nationals in the year ending September 2023, an increase of 59,079 compared to 2019 and 9,435 more visas issued than to main applicants in the same period,” the government said on its website.
If you’ve got a girlfriend/boyfriend and planning for them to join you in the UK, better act fast now, according to Adewale Adetona, a UK-based product marketing manager.
“Once the new policy kicks in, anyone trying to bring in a spouse from outside the UK must be earning a minimum of £38,700 per annum.”
James Cleverly, UK’s home secretary, on Monday announced a plan to slash migration levels and curb abuse of the immigration system, delivering the biggest ever reduction in net migration.
“It is clear that net migration remains far too high. By leaving the European Union we gained control over who can come to the UK, but far more must be done to bring those numbers down so British workers are not undercut and our public services put under less strain,” he said.
He added that the plan will deliver the biggest-ever reduction in net migration and will mean around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would not have been able to do so.
“I am taking decisive action to halt the drastic rise in our work visa routes and crack down on those who seek to take advantage of our hospitality.”
High poverty, unemployment, poor human capital development, insecurity, and poor education are some of the major reasons many Nigerians are leaving the country in search of greener pastures.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s inflation, which measures the rate of increase in commodity prices, quickened to an 18-year high of 27.33 percent in October.
Last year, the NBS put the number of Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty at 133 million, compared to 82.9 million considered poor in 2019 by national standards.
A recent survey by Phillips Consulting Limited (PCL) revealed that more than half of Nigerian highly skilled employees plan to quit their jobs and relocate abroad in the next year and that the top reasons why they plan to move to another country are better job opportunities, insecurity challenges, and higher education.
Here are further details of some countries that are allowing foreign families.
Family reunification is one of the pillars of the country’s immigration system. According to the Canadian government, the family class is the second largest category of newcomers welcomed by the country under its Immigration Levels Plan.
Its family class target, in 2024 targets 114,000 immigrants. This will rise to 118,000 immigrants by 2026.
Canada’s family class sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a person to join them in Canada and become a permanent resident.
“This program, one of the most popular streams of Canadian immigration, makes it easy for citizens and permanent residents to bring their spouse and immediate family members to Canada with reduced processing times because Canada knows that family should never be put on hold,” Canadinm, a Canadian immigration law firm said.
Spouses or partners that want to get a Denmark family visa must both be at least 24 years old and both meet the integration requirement.
There are different integration requirements that both partners must meet, based on education, work experience, and language skills.
“Both partners must meet four of the six requirements (three apply to each partner). These integration requirements are detailed more under requirements for the applicant and requirements for the spouse/partner in Denmark,” Visa Guide World said.
It said a dependent child (under 18) can join a parent in Denmark with a family visa.
Sweden is a Scandinavian nation in northern Europe with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains.
The country which is highly developed, is ranked seventh in the Human Development Index, according to United Nations Development.
It has different types of permits that allow people to bring their dependents. The type of permit that should be applied for will vary depending on the situation of the person who is living in the country.
Germany’s family reunion visa was established by the immigration authorities for family reunions. Apart from the required documents listed above, the sponsor’s spouse needs to have basic knowledge of the German language.
Children who are under the age of 16 can join their parents without the need to fulfill any requirements, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com, a European Union passport-free zone that covers most European countries.
“Those aged 16-18 must not be married and must speak fluent German to be granted a family reunion visa,” it said.
This country has two partnership visas as work visa and a residence visa. According to New Zealand immigration concepts, an immigration adviser, the work visa can be obtained after a short time living together in a relationship.
“This kind of visa allows you to live and work in New Zealand with no restrictions, however, the length of the visa will depend on how long you have lived together,” it said.
It said the resident visa can be obtained after 12 months of living together (in most cases). “Immigration New Zealand can grant the non-resident applicant and any dependent children the opportunity to live indefinitely in the country. This can pave the way to a New Zealand permanent residency.”