• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Nigerian Permanent Residency approvals in Canada dip for first time in 3 years, despite high immigration targets


The number of Nigerians given Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada dropped for the first time in three years in 2023, according to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The latest data from IRCC shows that the number of new PRs granted to Nigerians in Canada fell by 21.1 percent to 17,450 from 22,130 in 2022.

Read also: Japa: 3 common myth about immigrating to Canada

“Nigeria’s decline might be due to changes in international routes or a type of visa that has been closed, making the country not to be issuing PRs towards those routes,” Toyyib Adelodun, a UK-based immigration consultant, said.

“But I don’t think the decline should be something that we should be worried about because Canada still has very inviting schemes for people to come and work in areas where they have shortages,” he added.

A PR in Canada is a status granting someone who is not a Canadian citizen, the right to live and work in the country without any time limit on their stay. It is usually an immigration visa that allows someone to get most social and healthcare benefits that Canadian citizens are entitled to and also get protection under Canadian law.

Read also: Canada set to reduce intake of temporary residents

“Cost does not have anything to do with PR applications, there has been an increase in the number of Canadian study and PR applications despite the devaluation of the naira. The decline in the numbers could be a result of the COVID-19 pandemic effect. To qualify for PR, you either need to have gone through the Canadian study and work permit route, the express entry, or another province-specific program,” Steve Iduh, managing partner at A.D. & Partners, a global mobility consulting firm, said.

He said the assumption is that whoever is qualifying for PR now through the study permit route, are those that went into the country in 2019 and 2020 which had a low application admittance rate.

“The pandemic affected the number of people who went into Canada between 2019 to 2020 which could have led to a decline in the number of PRs now. It is also anticipated that the number of PR applications and approvals will likely witness a significant increase,” he added.

There are many different ways for professionals and workers to qualify for a Canada immigration permanent resident visa, according to lawyers at First Immigration Law Firm based in Canada.

“The most prominent option is through Express Entry, which is Canada’s main pathway for economic class skilled workers. Your best bet to be eligible under the entry is to meet the requirements of either the Federal Skilled Worker Program or Canadian Experience Class,” they said.

The IRCC data also revealed that Africa’s biggest economy ranked fourth in Canada’s top five immigration sources list. The number of PRs for China reduced marginally to 31,780 last year from 31,845 in 2022 and Afghanistan’s own also dropped to 20,180 from 23,750. But India and the Philippines reported an increase of 18.2 percent and 22.9 percent respectively.

Canada’s aging population and the lower birth rate have been shrinking its labour force, forcing the country to intensify its efforts to attract large, young, and vibrant immigrants by offering immigration-friendly policies.

The Canadian federal government in 2022 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. In 2023, the country landed 471,550 PRs, over 6,000 more PRs than the target outlined in IRCC’s ‪2023-2025‬ Immigration Levels Plan.

According to James Christoff, Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nigerians are very successful in Canada, contributing “tremendously” to the country’s economic, cultural, and social life.

“Many Canadians are becoming more curious about Nigeria because their co-workers, neighbors, and friends are Nigerians. Nigeria’s greatest asset is its human talents particularly, its entrepreneurship spirit. And that is what I am impressed with,” he said.

A recent report by Phillips Consulting Limited showed that more than half of Nigerian highly skilled employees plan to quit their jobs and relocate abroad in 2024.

The report, which surveyed 1,054 Nigerian adults aged 18 or older between August 24 and September 3, 2022, said 22 percent plan to migrate abroad within the next two to three years, while 26 percent are still determining their plans or have no intention of relocating abroad.

“The finance and insurance, professional services, and IT sectors are expected to be hit the hardest. The migration of skilled workers could significantly impact the performance of these sectors and the overall economy,” it said.

Africa’s most populated nation has in recent years seen a mass exodus of talent, popularly called ‘japa’ (a Yoruba word for “run quickly”), which has led to the dearth of skilled workers in critical sectors.

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.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Nigeria’s headline inflation rate rose for the 14th consecutive time in February to 31.70 percent from 29.90 percent in the previous month.

The World Bank’s latest Nigeria Development Update report revealed that rising inflation and sluggish growth in Africa’s most populous nation increased the number of poor people to 104 million in 2023 from 89.8 million at the start of the year.