Every year thousands of Nigerians immigrate to Canada, and the numbers have been growing in recent years.
In 2019, about 12,595 Nigerians got Canadian permanent residence, and about 11,985 pursued their education in Canada. This is up considerably from the 4,090 who came to Canada in 2015. There were about 42,430 Nigerians living in Canada in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.
Canada offers over 100 economic-class immigration programs for Nigerians to choose from. The best program for each person will depend on their individual circumstances and goals. Here is an overview of some of the immigration programs that Nigerians can pursue to get permanent residence in Canada.
Canada invites interested candidates to apply for permanent residence. The most direct path to get invited to apply for Canadian immigration is to submit a profile to the Express Entry system.
In 2019, Nigeria was the 2nd leading country of citizenship of successful Express Entry candidates, ranking only behind India.
Eligible candidates are given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on their age, work experience, education, and official language proficiency.
The highest-scoring candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry draws which usually take place every two weeks.
Candidates do not need to have a job offer to be selected from an Express Entry draw.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Canada is still holding Express Entry draws. The past two draws have been among the largest that the immigration department has ever held. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also giving candidates extra time to submit documents that they are not able to get due to COVID-19 closures and service disruptions.
The government of Canada aims to process applications for Express Entry candidates in six months. If a profile stays in the pool for more than one year, candidates can simply submit their profile again to re-enter the pool.
If a Nigerian candidate is not eligible for Express Entry they may also be able to immigrate to Canada through one of the Provincial Nominee Programs.
Canada also offers the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) for Nigerian candidates who wish to work and settle in a specific province or territory.
PNPs allows Canadian provinces and territories to nominate economic-class immigration candidates who support their labour market needs.
Most Canadian provinces and territories (except for Nunavut and Quebec) have at least one provincial nomination stream that is linked to Express Entry.
When a PNP is aligned with the Express Entry system they are known as “enhanced streams.” Candidates who receive provincial nominations through enhanced streams receive an additional 600 CRS points, which practically guarantees that a candidate will be invited in a subsequent Express Entry draw.
Depending on the program, an enhanced stream may issue invitations based on either provincial expression of interest scores or the CRS points.
The other type of PNP is called a “base” stream, which means it is not connected to the federal Express Entry system. These streams support the provinces’ individual objectives, and may or may not use a scoring system to select candidates.
Candidates who may not qualify for the Express Entry pool, but who fit the required skills needed in a specific province may be eligible for a provincial nomination through a base stream.
People who want to immigrate to Quebec must go through the province’s own economic immigration program. Skilled workers may go through Quebec’s Regular Skilled Worker Program which operates on an expression of interest system.
Studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution is one way that Nigerian immigrants can gain Canadian experience to support their applications for permanent residence.
Having Canadian study experience opens up the door to apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class, certain PNPs, as well as the Quebec Experience Program for those who study in Quebec.
After their studies have ended, Nigerian international students may be able to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit that will allow them to work in Canada for up to three years.
Having Canadian study and work experience is a highly valuable combination in terms of the CRS. It may also help candidates be eligible for certain PNPs.
In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Canada is allowing students to use online studies toward a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
Despite the travel restrictions and service disruptions around the world that make immigration difficult during the pandemic, the federal government has said that immigration is part of Canada’s economic recovery strategy.
This means that the government still recognizes the importance of immigration to the Canadian economy. As such, Nigerians will continue to have many opportunities to immigrate to Canada.
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