5 types of visas for talented Nigerians looking to live abroad

types of visas
There are many types of visas available to young Nigerians who are studying or have recently graduated. Source: Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP

The decision to move overseas for work or study isn’t an easy one. There are many things to consider, such as where you will go, if the climate and general social environment will suit you, as well as the types of visas available. 

For some young Nigerians, though, this is becoming a more appealing option by the day. 2022’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strikes presented a major hurdle to those looking to complete their education, and students are beginning to look abroad for options. Similarly, many talented Nigerian graduates are looking for work abroad prospects across a variety of fields. 

If you’re a young Nigerian finding yourself in this conundrum, you might be searching the web for options or the types of visas you are eligible for. Here’s a brief run-down of the types of visas you can consider, whether for study or for work. 

Plenty of young Nigerians choose to study or work overseas on a temporary or permanent basis. Source: Sam Wasson/AFP

Types of visas available to young Nigerians

International student visas

A student visa generally acts as a ticket to temporary relocation for young people of all nationalities. If you’re a Nigerian student in the midst of or just beginning your higher education journey — or perhaps looking to apply for a postgraduate programme — you might want to consider this route. 

There are many countries across the world with universities that accept foreign students — the issue stems from having to narrow this down.

The US, for example, has many universities that place among the global elite, but have some of the highest tuition fees in the world. By contrast, other countries such as China might be cheaper to consider, but have other barriers such as language to overcome. 

Below are some popular study abroad destinations along with their respective student visas for Nigerian students:

Many countries are accepting international students and graduates for studies or work. Source: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP

UK Tech Nation Visa

The Tech Nation Visa is an initiative put forward by the Home Office to attract global talent to work in the UK’s digital technology sector. The scheme is part of the Global Talent Visa in digital technology, which has no limits on the number of visas issued yearly. 

Eligibility requirements will mostly consider your own unique background, skills, and achievements rather than listing certain qualifications or conditions that must be met to qualify. It is open to employees and founders from technical and business backgrounds and encompasses all sub-sectors of tech, such as fintech, AI, cyber, games, and more. 

If chosen, you might be granted a visa that lasts for up to five years. You can extend this visa as many times as you need, and you won’t be tied to any specific job, company, or location.

Canada’s Express Entry pathway

While not a visa in itself, Canada’s Express Entry pathway is an online system that speeds up the process of applying for a work visa in the country.

It oversees permanent residence applications of three skilled workers categories: the Federal Skilled Worker (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSTP). 

If you don’t have experience working in Canada, opt for the FSWP and FSTP programmes. Both target workers with foreign experience or who are qualified in a specific skilled trade. 

Nigerians with relevant experience will find no issues with these conditions, and can then start focusing on other factors surrounding Express Entry: accumulating points. You can earn points in a number of ways — your work experience and education, and your language proficiency, to name a few. 

Once the minimum score for your round of invitations is met, you’ll stand a chance of being invited to apply for permanent residency. 

Singapore Employment Pass

Singapore’s Employment Pass (EP) is a work visa for foreign professionals, managers, executives, and specialists who wish to work in the country.

 A successful application requires the passing of a 2-stage eligibility framework:

  1. Earn at least the EP qualifying salary, which is benchmarked to the top 1/3 of local Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians’ salaries by age.
  2. Pass the points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), a transparent points-based system that gives businesses greater clarity and certainty for manpower planning.
types of visas

Temporary visa holders were the largest contributors to arrivals in Australia in 2022-23. The largest group was international students, followed by working holidaymakers and temporary skilled workers. Source: AFP

Australia Recognised Graduate visa

Nigerians who have graduated can consider relocating to Australia — which is renowned for its finance, professional services, and health services industries — for work. Here, you’ll find various types of visas available to you. 

If you’ve recently graduated, you would probably be looking at the Graduate Work stream. This visa class is for international students who have graduated with skills and qualifications relevant to specific occupations Australia needs. The full list of requirements as well as the skilled occupation list are available for you to look at here

New Zealand Accredited Employer Work Visa

New Zealand has many work visa options for everyone to decide what works best for them.

Many start with the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), a temporary visa granted to you if you have a job offer from an accredited employer, the skills and qualifications for the job, and a link to the visa application form.

Nigerians who have a job within New Zealand’s Tier 1 green list roles, such as engineering, healthcare, or tech, may even be granted immediate New Zealand residency via the Straight to Residence pathway. Those with Tier 2 occupations like construction, trade, and education may be granted residency after working for two years through the Work to Residence pathway instead.

Disclaimer: This article was updated on April 18, 2024.