Nigeria ranks 5th in Canada’s top 10 international students market

Africa’s biggest economy has moved up by four places, ranking fifth position on the top source countries of new international students that entered Canada in 2022, according to new data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

BusinessDay’s interrogation of the IRCC data shows that the number of new study permits issued by Canada to Nigeria rose by 17.8 percent to 16,195 as of December 31, 2022, the highest on record from 13,745 in the same period of 2021.

A study permit is a document issued by the Canadian government that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions in the country. Globally, the total number of study permits also increased by 24.1 to 551,405.

According to The Voice Canadian Immigration, the world’s leading Canadian immigration news website, the country’s standard of education, lower costs, obtaining work, and immigration opportunities post-graduation are the major reasons why Canada remains a top destination for international students.

“A recent report by IDP, an international education agency that specialises in student placement around the world showed that Canada was overwhelmingly the top destination of choice for international students globally, “it said.

A breakdown of the total study permits shows that India with 226,450, China, 52,165; Philippines, 23,380; France, 16,725, and Nigeria, 16,195 are the top five countries. The bottom five countries are Iran, 13,525; the Republic of Korea, 11,535; Japan, 10,955; Mexico – 10,405, and Brazil, 10,405.

Higher education has always been one of the principal conduits of permanent emigration. But Nigeria’s current realities such as high inflation, unemployment and fragile economic growth have now made it a major reason why its citizens emigrate to other countries for greener pastures.

IRCC also revealed that the number of immigrants from Nigeria that entered Canada last year rose by 5.1 percent to 22,085 immigrants. This places the country in fourth position below India with 118, 095, China (31,815) and Afghanistan (23,735 ).

Canada’s aging population and the lower birth rate which is shrinking its labour market, forced the country to intensify its efforts to attract large, young and vibrant immigrants

Last November, the Canadian federal government announced an aggressive plan to take in 500,000 immigrants a year by 2025, with almost 1.5 million new immigrants coming to the country over the next three years.

It now expects to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, up four percent from a previous target, and 485,000 in 2024, up 7.5 percent.

“This year’s immigration levels plan will help businesses find the workers they need,” Sean Fraser, Canada’s immigration minister said in a statement. He said the new targets would also allow the country to fulfil commitments to help those fleeing violence and war in their home countries.

“Canada is projected to reduce the number of government-assisted refugees it resettles by about a third, from 23,550 in 2023 to 15,250 in 2025.”