Every year thousands of middle-class Nigerians move to Canada through the skilled workers’ immigration program. Their reason for making the move boils down to one thing: the possibility of a higher quality of life and education for their children.
That sentiment cuts across the board as thousands of Nigerians increasingly emigrate through a mix of avenues. Skilled worker programs (also referred to as Express Entry) inviting immigrants to Canada and Australia are a popular and legitimate choice. But other choices—including applying for asylum and refugee protection in Canada, sometimes while crossing the US-Canada border illegally—are being explored as well.
Chasing better education
Whatever the method of emigration, pursuing the chance to seek a better life particularly education for children remains a common theme. Decades of under-funding have impacted the quality of teachers and lecturers as well as the learning infrastructure in Nigeria’s educational system, leading to a significant decline.
Strikes by Nigerian university lecturers protesting low wages and inadequate benefits are now an almost annual occurrence. The lack of investment in public educational institutions has also fueled a rise in expensive private schools and universities for middle and high-income families seeking higher standards.
Political and economic challenges
There is a lack of faith in Nigeria’s political leaders and their ability to reverse the decline in the educational sector is such that many of the middle-class Nigerians making the exodus to Europe and North America do not trust the situation will change soon.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate has climbed for 13 consecutive quarters and an ambitious four-year plan to boost the economy following a recession in 2016 is proving to be a failure.
As it turns out, the ongoing emigration compounds the problem as an important socio-economic demographic is increasingly choosing to leave. But the grass outside Nigeria isn’t necessarily always greener for emigrants as they face real and expensive challenges of relocating, settling into a new country and starting over.
Despite the known challenges, the possibility of a higher quality of life and education for their children remains a strong pull for several middle-class Nigerians who can afford to move.