We are Omo & Eulanda Osagiede. Let’s begin by saying that we are NOT immigration consultants, so all tips will be based on personal experience. While I am not advocating for all you young, bright professionals to abandon Nigeria, I understand that life happens; and that for personal reasons, many of us choose to relocate from Nigeria to seek opportunities elsewhere.
These tips hopes to answer some of your questions and to provide some guidance on how to make your plans THE RIGHT way.
The Nigerian diaspora population is one of the best educated in the many Western countries they’ve relocated to.
According to @MigrationPolicy, an estimated 400,000 Nigerian immigrants and their children (legally) live in the USA. Equally, significant numbers live in countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada, which are top desired destinations.
The first thing to consider is your motive. Is your main motive education, career, business or family? Each of these motives will determine how you approach relocation and what legal options are available to you. And each of these motives will bring up different requirements from your intended host country.
Once your motive is clear, you need to find out about your host country’s immigration policies. Research is KEY. Most countries offer a range of visa types: working, family, study, business visas. Research what’s BEST for you.
NEVER pay money to anyone who promises they can get you a visa. Be careful of scammers. Do your own research!
The ideal answer is YES. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you might find work AFTER you’ve relocated. For those seeking career opportunities abroad, the key question is “What skills do you have to offer?
Many countries e.g. Canada will have published reports on skills gaps. Seek out jobs/industry reports/research. Many countries offer ‘highly skilled work-visas’ but those opportunities are shrinking. Again, do your research.
If you’re going to study, does your host country have post-study work visas? Is there a minimum income target? If you work for an international company, speak to your HR to see if you’re eligible for work-exchange programs.
Finally, BE ACTIVE in your field (on/offline). If you have something of value to offer, opportunities WILL FIND YOU!
Relocating is a life-changing decision for many people. They leave behind family, friends, career, business, etc. Don’t start planning your relocation when you’ve got your visa. Make the process less dramatic by planning ahead.
Be sure to factor visa and related costs into your budgeting. Costs will vary by country and by visa type. Practical things you need to consider BEFORE relocating include: 1. Cost of living (daily) 2. Accommodation 3. Transportation 4. Schools (for your kids) 5. Healthcare 6. Language 7. Contacts for recruiters.
There may be other expenses to consider. Speak to expats already living in your target country for guidance.
Don’t quit your job just yet. See if your employer will hold your position open for some time. I’ve seen folks relocate and then after 3 months decide it isn’t what they thought it was and choose to return.
Finally, relocating can be exciting. Just do your research and MAKE SURE to follow your host country’s guidelines.
We live in a world where attitudes/ policies towards immigration are constantly changing. Research, join online communities, understand your host country’s current socio-political/economic situation.
LinkedIn is a great resource for networking with professionals in your field of expertise. Ask questions. About local work culture, practical realities of day-to-day life, career progression etc.
Language can be a barrier if you’re moving to a non-English speaking country. Start learning BEFORE you fly!
Finally, money, money, money! Make sure you have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C worked out BEFORE you travel.
Your first resource should ALWAYS be your target country’s website. Give their embassy a call if you have questions. If you’re relocating to study, then your target university will MOST LIKELY have resources to help you.
Join online communities for professional expats. Examples include: @theblackexpat @SheNomads @ExpatFocus @BlogExpat
InterNations – resource for Nigerian Expats in the USA. Twitter handle: @InterNationsorg https://www.internations.org/usa-expats/nigerians
BEFORE you relocate, work on building your professional network. Again, LinkedIn is a great place to do that.
And finally, don’t pay money to anyone who promises a visa, job, house or anything. Stay legal. Can’t say this enough! The system is more likely to work for you when you’re legal.
So important. There are many out there seeking to prey on the gullible and desperate.
More great advice! International student offices will also be able to advise on any post-study options (if they exist).
So folks often ask: how can one tackle a major challenge, which is securing a country of interest?
Truth is, there’s no simple answer. It depends on many factors including visa requirements and your eligibility for one. Find out what the country of interest requires and if you can meet their requirements for a visa (work, study, business etc).
If you have been applying for jobs in Canada or Switzerland but no actual offers have come along, don’t be discouraged if your country choices are wrong. The questions to answer are: What’s your field? Which countries have need for your skills? Consider bypassing recruiters and apply directly to companies of interest.
Having said all these, remember not to give up, regardless of the difficulties you face. It might linger, but it will definitely happen.
We wish you all the best.