How you can immigrate to Canada from Nigeria

Julia Hornstein
Published: November 29, 2023

Under its Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is aiming to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents by the end of 2023. By 2025, this target is increased to 500,000.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

In 2022, Nigeria was Canada’s fourth top immigration source country, welcoming 22,085 Nigerian immigrants, making up 5.05% of Canada’s total number of permanent residents. In addition, there are over 100,000 Canadians of Nigerian descent who call Canada home.

Canada is a leading destination for Nigerians as it offers vast economic opportunities, political stability, an internationally recognized education system and highly developed healthcare system.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program

If you are overseas, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) may be the best option for you. The FWSP allows candidates with work experience and no Canadian job offer or connection to Canada to apply for permanent residence.

The FSWP is one of the programs managed by Express Entry, the Canadian federal government’s application system that manages the FWSP, the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The FSWP targets foreign skilled workers who have foreign work experience, education, language skills and other human capital factors that will help them become established in Canada. In order to be eligible for the program, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • One year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER category 0, 1, 2, or 3;
  • Validated language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French across all abilities (reading, writing, listening, and speaking); and
  • A Canadian educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
  • At least 67 points on IRCC’s six immigration selection factors.
  • Enough money for you and your family to settle in Canada.

Once you confirm you are eligible for the FSWP, you may upload your Express Entry profile onto Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website. You will then be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on human capital factors such as age, education, work experience and language ability, among others.

IRCC has also recently launched new category-based draws for Express Entry candidates. Candidates within this program are chosen if they have a strong French language proficiency or have work experience in the following professions:

  • Healthcare
  • STEM professions
  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food

The Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another popular option for Nigerian foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada. Each province and territory (except for Quebec and Nunavut) create their own immigration pathways through the PNP and implement it according to their demographic and labour market needs.

Through the PNP, provinces and territories will nominate skilled workers to immigrate to their respective jurisdictions. Nigerian candidates can apply to immigrate to Canada directly through a PNP program, provided they meet the required eligibility criteria.

In addition, a candidate can also enter the Express Entry pool and be invited to apply for immigration by a province that will select candidates from the federal pool. If nominated through Express Entry, the candidate will receive an additional 600 CRS points, which virtually guarantees an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence in an upcoming Express Entry draw.

Work permit options

Another option for Nigerian foreign nationals is to work in Canada with a Canadian work permit. Canadian work permits are divided into two programs: the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). The main difference between the two is that a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required for the TFWP, while it is not for the IMP.

The purpose of the LMIA is for an employer to demonstrate that hiring the foreign worker will either have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian job market.

In many cases, a job offer from a Canadian employer is required before a foreign national can apply for a work permit. However, there are some situations that IRCC allows for an open work permit, which are not employer specific and allow the holder to work almost anywhere across Canada.

Study permit

Canada welcomed a record number of international students in 2022, reaching 551,405 students from 184 countries. In 2023, over 16,000 international students came to study in Canada from Nigeria.

There are over 1,500 designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada. Once you apply to your school of choice and get accepted, you can apply for a study permit.

The benefit of a Canadian study experience is that a study permit can provide an opportunity to work while you study and offers a permanent resident pathway upon graduation. Many federal and provincial programs values candidates that have Canadian education and work experience.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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