At least 28,358 Nigerians received invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residency from 2015 to 2021.
This is according to an analysis of Express Entry annual reports issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for the years under review.
The year-end reports overview all EE process stages from profile submissions, invitations to apply, applications and admissions.
According to the report, Nigeria rose from seventh to the second most common country of citizenship of applicants who received an ITA from the Canadian authority in the four years spanning 2015 to 2019.
Within that period, the number of Nigerians who received ITAs rose by a whopping 889 per cent.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Canadian PR invitations to Nigerians rose by 10 per cent—from 5,882 to 6,550.
However, that number dropped by 52 per cent in the preceding year.
The breakdown showed that 609, 1041, 5129 and 6,024 ITAs were issued in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
While 5882, 6550 and 3123 invitations were issued in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
In 2020, the West African state ranked 3rd globally, behind India and China.
In 2021, however, more South Koreans received ITAs than Nigerians, albeit by a small margin of seven.
From 2015 to 2021, the IRCC received at least 2,209,630 profile submissions. 59 per cent (1,303,490) of those profiles were termed “eligible” for at least one of the federal immigration programs. In contrast, 51 per cent (906,140) were ineligible.
In 2022, IRCC processed about 5.2 million permanent, temporary, and citizenship applications.
This doubled the number of applications processed in 2021.
On January 3, 2023, the Canadian government revealed that it welcomed 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022, the highest since 1913.
It plans to grant permanent residency status to 447,055 and 451,000 immigrants in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Although the Canadian government says immigrants enrich its communities and contribute to its economy through labour, job creation and local businesses, the tale is different for source regions such as Nigeria.
A development economist, Aliyu Ilias, told Saturday PUNCH that the exit of more Nigerians and their permanent settlement in Canada meant less skilled labour for the country.
“It’s definitely a cause of concern because our professionals are moving because it takes a whole lot to train these professionals. In the medical sector, Nigeria subsidises a lot to get people trained.
“You cannot get trained as a medical doctor or an engineer abroad for a cheaper cost compared to what we get in Nigeria. So, it is a total brain drain in the long run and for the economy, it is reducing our GDP.
“The appalling part is that most of our Nigerian brothers and sisters who go out do not return. They get permanent residency, and they become valuable to the immediate country,” he said.