Immigrate to Canada from Nigeria in 2021

May 5, 2021


  • Reuben Walter

Canada is quickly becoming the first choice for immigrants from around the world who want the chance to create the dream lifestyle they deserve. The second-biggest country in the world, Canada only has 37.5million people, compared to the USA’s 350million. There is a lot of space to grow and if you want to immigrate to Canada from Nigeria in 2021, there is more good news.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced its immigration targets for 2021 and beyond. This year they plan to make at least 401,000 immigrants permanent residents of Canada. As you will see in this article, there are ways to get permanent residency right away, but sometimes it is more about getting a foot in the door, as there are more probable ways to secure your future in Canada, that just take a little bit of time and patience.

Canadian Immigration Options for Nigerians

Toronto skyline - immigrate to Canada from Nigeria

The Express Entry System

For Nigerians who have experience and/or a qualification in a managerial or professional occupation or as a skilled tradesman, Express Entry is a way to apply for permanent residency from outside of Canada, without requiring a job offer.

Skilled workers are paid very well in Canada, with the average Canadian salary currently at $54,630 a year. Hard-working people don’t live in poverty, because even at the general minimum wage, which is $14.25 an hour nationally, people make around $29,640 a year. Rent for a nice two-bedroom apartment is no more than $12,000 a year, and the general cost of living is around $14,000 a year. These costs include things like wifi, public transport, heating in your apartment in winter, groceries and entertainment.

If you qualify for the Express Entry system, you are required to create a profile which is entered into a pool of candidates depending on your skills and qualifications. There are three pools or programs:

  • Skilled Worker Program - applicants require work experience and a qualification as a manager or in a professional occupation, such as accountants, engineers and IT professionals, to be eligible for this program. ;
  • Skilled Trades Program - applicants require at least two years of experience or a qualification as a skilled trades worker, and have a valid job offer in Canada or are certified in your trade by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority you would be eligible for this program. Examples include carpenters, welders and plumbers, electricians and pipefitters. You can also study a trade while working in Canada, which we will look at next.
  • Canada Experience Class - applicants require at least one year of experience working in Canada under a Temporary Foreign Work Permit, in an occupation eligible for one of the above categories. This program receives preference over the other two because candidates have demonstrated that they are capable of functioning in Canadian society. International graduates from Canadian universities and colleges who continue to live and work in Canada also often apply for permanent residency through this program, which will be looked at next.

Study in Canada

This year there will be around 350,000 foreign students in Canada. Aside from a world-class education, Canadian employers are more likely to hire foreigners if they have a Canadian credential.

Once you graduate from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, you will have 90 days to secure a job offer and will then be eligible for a temporary foreign work permit. You can then apply for permanent residency either through your Provincial Nomination Program’s international graduate program or through Express Entry. International graduates from some universities and colleges may be eligible for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which is a special work permit directly correlated to the length of their studies, which allows them to work for any employer in Canada and then also apply for permanent residency through the same program mentioned above.

Young foreign graduates - immigrate to Canada from Nigeria in 2021

Start a Business in Canada

If you have at least 3 years of experience as an active business owner or four years as the manager of a business, you may be eligible to start or buy an existing business in Canada. You can then apply for permanent residency under the PNP of the province your business is located in. Different provinces have different requirements for the minimum net worth, your minimum investment and the number of jobs you will be required to create for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. For entrepreneurs, this is the best way to immigrate to Canada from Nigeria.

If you have a new or innovative idea, and can secure a Canadian investor to fund your business idea in Canada, you can also apply for permanent residency through the start-up visa program

Other Immigration Programs

There are immigration programs specific to regions of Canada, such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, which requires you only to have a job offer in a skilled or semi-skilled occupation to possibly be eligible for permanent residency.

There are community-specific programs, such as the employed within their towns or communities for permanent residency. 

There are job-specific immigration programs, such as the Agri-food pilot, where foreign workers who have permanent jobs in Canada’s agricultural and farming industries can apply for permanent residency as soon as they have one year of experience working in Canada.  

What is Life in Canada Like

One change Nigerians may find difficult to adjust to our Canadian winters. Most of the country falls below freezing and gets covered in thick snow. Other than that, summers are warm and people love spending time outdoors because we have millions of lakes, gorgeous mountains, and fun social events like festivals, fairs, and drive-in movie theatres. The pros of living in Canada far outweigh the cons.   

Canadians are friendly, welcoming people. The majority of people speak English, and a lot speak French too. As of the last census, there were nearly 52,000 Nigerians living in Canada, which may not seem like a lot but actually accounts for nearly 1.5 percent of the total population. The majority reside in Ontario, but there has been a steady increase in the amount of Nigerians living in western cities such as Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton. So wherever you land up, it is highly likely that you will find an expat community, should you feel the need for a taste of home.

Immigrate to Canada from Nigeria in 2021

Are You Ready to Start a Life in Canada?

If you want to move to Canada, you can. The first and most important step is to determine which immigration program you are eligible for, and then to plan an immigration roadmap to make sure your application for permanent residence is secure. The most important thing you can do when immigrating to Canada from Nigeria in 2021 is to make sure your status is legal. Whether you start out on a work permit, as a student or by apply for residency through Express Entry, it is important to make this journey the right way.