Japa: Nigerian Professionals in Canada Regret Migration, Struggle for Recognition and Economic Stability


The dreams of many Nigerian professionals who emigrated to Canada in search of greener pastures have turned into a harsh reality. While Canada has often been considered a land of opportunity for immigrants, many Nigerian professionals are grappling with challenges that include working in unskilled jobs, the refusal of Canada to recognize their foreign qualifications, high rent, racism, heavy taxation, and near-zero monthly savings. This has led to a sense of regret among some professionals who hoped for better prospects in their new homeland.

One striking example of the ordeal faced by Nigerian professionals in Canada is the story of Dr. Chukwudi Eze, a highly skilled surgeon who now drives a cab in Toronto. Dr. Eze left Nigeria with the hope of continuing his medical career and providing a better life for his family. However, after years of battling with certification hurdles and financial instability, he found himself behind the wheel of a taxi instead of in the operating room.

Dr. Eze, who was renowned in Nigeria for his expertise in surgery, has been unable to secure recognition of his foreign qualifications in Canada. The process of obtaining Canadian medical licensure is complex, time-consuming, and often prohibitively expensive. As a result, many highly skilled professionals are forced to take low-paying, unskilled jobs to make ends meet.

“I spent years in medical school and even more years in practice, only to end up as a cab driver,” lamented Dr. Eze. “The system here makes it nearly impossible for me to use my skills and training to help people. It’s disheartening.”

Another major issue facing Nigerian professionals in Canada is the high cost of living. Skyrocketing rents, especially in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, leave many with limited options for housing. The burden of heavy taxation and a lack of accessible social services further diminish their monthly savings, leaving many in financial distress.

Racial discrimination is another challenge that many Nigerian professionals face in Canada. Reports of racial profiling and discrimination in the workplace are not uncommon, making it even more challenging for them to integrate and succeed in their careers.

Oluwakemi Adeyemi, a registered nurse who moved to Canada from Nigeria, shared her experiences of racism in the healthcare system. “I thought my nursing skills would be valued and respected here, but I’ve encountered discrimination on multiple occasions,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to see that my qualifications and experience are often overlooked because of my skin color.”

In a tale of dreams turned into regrets, another three Nigerian professionals who took the plunge to emigrate to Canada are now struggling with the consequences of their decisions. These individuals, who wish to remain anonymous, had successful careers in Nigeria but now find themselves grappling with menial jobs and financial instability in their new home.

The first professional was a senior bank executive in Nigeria, living a comfortable life in a bustling Lagos neighborhood. In pursuit of the Canadian dream, they left their high-paying position behind to relocate to Canada. However, the reality was far from what they expected. Today, this once-successful banker is toiling away at odd jobs just to make ends meet. The shift from the comfort of a plush executive suite to manual labor and erratic income has been a tough pill to swallow.

The second individual, a geologist working for a multinational oil company in Nigeria, had a secure job and a promising career. Yet, influenced by his spouse’s fervent desire to emigrate to Canada, he decided to take the leap. Now, the regret is palpable as he works tirelessly as a factory worker, struggling to save a mere $500 Canadian dollars monthly. This sharp contrast to his former life as a geologist is a source of profound disappointment and financial strain.

The third professional, a successful businessman in Nigeria, made the most significant sacrifice in pursuit of a Canadian dream. Selling off his assets in Nigeria, he uprooted his life to relocate to Canada. However, his venture into the Canadian business landscape has not been as promising as he had hoped. Faced with challenges in a new environment and the need to reestablish himself, he now bitterly regrets the decision to leave his thriving Nigerian business behind.

These three individuals represent a growing trend of Nigerian professionals who, lured by the promise of a better life in Canada, find themselves struggling to adapt and make ends meet in their new surroundings. Many find that their foreign qualifications are not immediately recognized, and they must often start from scratch to rebuild their careers.

While the Canadian government has initiatives in place to help newcomers integrate into the workforce, many Nigerian professionals argue that more needs to be done to streamline the process of recognizing foreign qualifications and addressing issues related to racism.

As the dreams of many Nigerian professionals continue to crumble in Canada, they hope for a change in policies and procedures that will enable them to utilize their skills, find economic stability, and regain the optimism they had when they first set foot on Canadian soil. Until then, their struggle continues, and the sense of regret grows stronger among those who had once hoped for a brighter future in the Great White North.


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