Nigerian-Canadian Masai Ujiri to receive Canada’s highest honour

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: July 29, 2023

The President of Basketball Operations for the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri, has been appointed to the Order of Canada.

This is Canada’s highest civilian honour, which recognizes and rewards those “who make extraordinary contributions to the nation, [enrich] the lives of others and [make] a difference to this country.”

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Ujiri, honoured for his “contributions on and off the basketball court as the Raptors president and as a humanitarian, is one of 85 people who were recently appointed to the Order of Canada by Governor General Mary Simon.

Note: Masai confirmed in 2020 that he was legally a Canadian citizen and a Canadian passport holder

A native of Bournemouth, England but also a Nigerian citizen, the well-travelled Ujiri – who has also spent time in the United States as the General Manager and Executive Vice President of the Denver Nuggets – is one of many with Nigerian roots to find their way to Canada.

In fact, in 2022, Nigeria was the fourth biggest source country of new Canadian permanent residents (PRs) by country of citizenship. Last year, 22,085 (5.05% of all PRs) citizens of Nigeria immigrated to Canada. This is further reinforced by Statistics Canada data that shows Nigeria as the fifth most commonly reported country of birth among recent immigrants to Canada (between 2016 and 2021).

The recent boom in immigration to Canada from Nigeria can be explained by a few factors, one of which is the growing number of PR immigration pathways available to residents of that country.

A sample of these pathways can be found below, and a more detailed explanation of Nigeria-to-Canada immigration options can be found here.

1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

One Canadian immigration option available to Nigerian immigrants is the FSWP. This immigration program allows those who meet the following requirements to apply for Canadian permanent residence. Prospective FSWP candidates must:

  • Have one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience over the last decade in a skilled occupation under the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels: 0, A or B
  • Possess a formally tested ability to speak, read, write and listen in English/French equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) &
  • Possess a Canadian educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential (accompanied by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report)
  • Score at least 67 points on IRCC’s six immigration selection factors
  • Prove that you have enough money for you and your family to settle in Canada (Proof of Funds)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has noted, in its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, that the federal government is targeting the admission of 109,020 Express Entry (Federal High Skilled) candidates into Canada through permanent residence next year.

More: This page provides further details on what to do as a Nigerian national if you are eligible for the FSWP

2. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Nigerian nationals looking to immigrate to Canada may also take advantage of PNPs operated by 11 of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial governments.

Note: Quebec and Nunavut do not operate PNPs like the rest of Canada

These immigration programs allow each participating province or territory to target and invite prospective immigrants who best align with their region’s particular economic and demographic needs and goals.

For immigration candidates from Nigeria, as is the case with prospective immigrants from any PNP-eligible country, there are several ways to leverage the PNP when seeking PR in this country.

Firstly, eligible immigration candidates can simply apply for Canadian immigration directly through a particular province or territory’s PNP.

Further, those who apply to one of the three federal programs contained under the Express Entry application management system – including the FSWP, as outlined above – can benefit from Canada’s PNPs if they are invited to apply for a provincial nomination by a local government that reviews the federal pool of Express Entry candidates.

In this case, PNP applicants who apply for Canadian immigration through Express Entry will receive an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, effectively guaranteeing them an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence in an upcoming Express Entry draw held by IRCC.

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