The exodus of Nigerian immigrants to Canada is showing no signs of slowing down. For the fifth year in a row, more Nigerians emigrated to Canada than the year before as data published by the Canadian government shows the number of Nigerians issued permanent resident permits has tripled since 2015. It’s a growth rate that outstrips some of Canada’s biggest sources of immigrants over the last five years, including India, China and Philippines. The rise in Nigerian immigrants heading to Canada reflects the North American country’s push to expand its labor force and lower the average age of its workers as its population advances in years. In 2019, Canada welcomed 341,000 immigrants in total (about 10,000 more it targeted) as part of its immigration policy to attract skilled workers.
For middle-class Nigerians increasingly looking to emigrate, Canada holds appeal for several reasons. Its ongoing drive to increase skill-based immigration offers a legal and long-term path not just to residency permits but also citizenship. It’s a prospect that’s alluring given Nigeria’s ongoing economic and insecurity travails, with the political class not appearing any closer to providing the kind of leadership required to turn around the country’s fortunes. In 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the country with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty. And, given precariously low human capital spending on education and healthcare, it’s a reality that will endure for, at least, a generation.