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Nigerians with permanent residency in Canada highest in 14 months

Nigerians with permanent residency in Canada highest in 14 months

Nigerians are making Canada their new home in record numbers. The country has now recorded its highest number of Nigerian permanent residents (PRs) in over a year.

According to recent data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, up to 1,905 Nigerians permanently reside in Canada as of April 2024, its highest since March 2023.

Nigerians migrating to Canada have steadily climbed in recent years. The number of new Nigerian permanent residents (PRs) in Canada from 5,445 in 2015 to 17,460 in 2023.

In the first 4 months of 2024, the number of Nigerians arriving in Canada as new permanent residents has already reached 6,600, according to the country’s latest immigration data, exceeding the total annual admission of new Nigerian PRs in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and a little over the admissions in 2020 when Covid-19 halted mobility.

The figures from January to April portray Nigerians as the fourth-largest international population with PRs in Canada in 2024 after India, Philippines, and China, who accommodate more than five times the population of the West African country.

Since March 2023, Canada has seen a steady increase in Nigerian permanent residents, averaging 1,392 admissions monthly. This trend, particularly strong since December 2023, suggests PR admissions in 2024 could surpass 2023’s numbers if it continues.

On April 30, 2024, the Canadian government increased the fees for all permanent residence applications by 10 percent. Fees already high due to a declining naira are now, more than ever, out of reach to the average earner in Nigeria.

However, this has done little to discourage determined Nigerians who continue to spend up to millions in naira to qualify for permanent residency status in Canada.

A PR status grants individuals who are not Canadian citizens the right to live and work in the country without time limits. It serves as an immigration visa and qualifies the holder for most social and healthcare benefits that Canadian citizens are entitled to, including protection under Canadian law.

The influx from Nigeria into Canada’s resident populations is largely attributed to its talent-focused policies, which have made it an attractive destination for skilled professionals seeking better opportunities and students.

Canada’s ageing population and low birth rate have created gaps in its labour force, forcing the country to intensify efforts to attract young and diverse immigrants by offering attractive travel policies.

In Nigeria, where many of its 115 million working population earn below $20 a month in an inflated economy, a major draw for Nigerians is the opportunity for higher wages.

A permanent residency in Canada qualifies caretakers for up $1,042 per month plus a $41.74 add-on on suites which can go up to $3,548.63 per month for a building and a $61 add-on.

And with the labour shortages in skilled trades and healthcare, salaries become competitive for qualified professionals.

Canada’s immigration framework prioritises professionals and highly skilled individuals, making it easier for them to obtain work permits and permanent residency, including post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) after completing studies in Canada and the Express Entry system that uses a skill-based point system to grant permanent residency.

This approach contrasts sharply with other countries, particularly the UK, where restrictive immigration policies pose significant challenges for Nigerians and other international talent.

With its Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot programs expired, Canada launched newer, fast-tracked care pilot programs from overseas- with Nigeria as part of its target population, granting professional care workers permanent residency status upon arrival.

Immigration data since 2023 provide indications of a continuous rise in permanent relocation to Canada from developing economies. The country has already exceeded its goal of attracting 500,000 immigrants by 2025, but has kept the gates open.