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Canada has landed 10,180 new immigrants from Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy in the first half of 2023, new data has revealed.

The data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), show that the country recorded 10,180 Permanent Residents (PRs) from Nigeria in H1, a marginal increase of 0.74 percent from 10,105 in the same period of 2022.

“Over the years, Canada has been very open to immigration due to its skill shortages,” Toyyib Adelodun, a UK-based immigration consultant, said.

He said unlike the UK which is easy to enter but takes a long time to become a citizen of the country, Canada is the opposite. “You can still even visit the country while they are processing your PR application.”

A PR in Canada is a status granting someone who is not a Canadian citizen, the right to live and work in the country without any time limit on their stay. It is usually an immigration visa that allows someone to get most social and healthcare benefits that Canadian citizens are entitled to and also get protection under Canadian law.

The IRCC data also revealed that out of the total 263,180 new immigrants listed, Africa’s most populous nation ranked fourth behind the Philippines (14,450), China (18,760), and India (84,425). The rest of the six countries are Afghanistan (7,670), U.S. (6,675), Pakistan (6,355) Eritrea (5,910), France (5,750) and Iran ( 4,840)

Canada’s aging population and the lower birth rate have been shrinking its labour force, forcing the country to intensify its efforts to attract large, young, and vibrant immigrants by offering immigration-friendly policies.

Last year, the Canadian federal government announced an aggressive plan to take in 500,000 immigrants a year by 2025, with almost 1.5 million new immigrants coming to the country over the next three years. In 2022, the country landed 437,120 PRs, a nearly eight percent increase from the total number of PRs in 2021.

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Apart from PRs, India (175,021), Nigeria (43,482) the Philippines (21,902), China (14,975) and Nepal (12,776) were among the top five source countries of new international students coming to Canada, according to IRCC.

In May, Canada announced new measures to make it easier for families of recent immigrants to relocate to the country just a few days after the UK said it was restricting foreign students from bringing their families into the country starting next year.

That same month, the country announced that its express entry was now implementing a category-based selection to help tackle labour shortages and boost the economy.

Higher education and work are the major principal conduits of permanent emigration. But Nigeria’s current realities such as high inflation, unemployment and fragile economic growth have now made it a major reason why its citizens emigrate to other countries for greener pastures.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s inflation, which measures the rate of increase of commodity prices quickened to a near 18-month high at 24.08 percent in July 2023 and unemployment, at a record high of 33.3 percent as at 2020 has heightened insecurity in the country.

Last year, the NBS put the number of Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty at 133 million, compared to 82.9 million considered poor in 2019 by national standards.

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