any Nigerians in search of a better life have set relocation from the country, now popularly referred to as ‘japa’, a top priority on their goals for 2023.
Poor standard of living, rising insecurity and the economic uncertainty that looms over the country preparing for its general elections, change in government and drastic reform measures such as fuel subsidy removal, all in one year, are some of the main reasons behind the decision to japa.
Today, millions of ethnic Nigerians live abroad and the largest communities can be found in the United Kingdom’ (500,000–3,000,000) and the United States (600,000–1,000,000 Nigerians). Other top destination countries include Canada, Germany, South Africa and The Gambia.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) investigation revealed that the five easiest routes for relocation used by Nigerians are study, work, marriage, application for permanent residency and asylum.
However, irrespective of the relocation route one chooses to take, here are eight things you should do before you japa:
- Find out the requirements of your prospective country: Before deciding to relocate from Nigeria, it is important to find out what the visa requirements are for working. Too many Nigerians move abroad expecting to step straight into a similar job they had at home and then express surprise when they are unable to work due to visa restrictions, which can lead to frustration and depression. Also find out what the requirements are for driving, studying and traveling. Sometimes depending on your visa, you might have restrictions on where and when you are permitted to travel.
- Organize your documents: Many Nigerians have been denied visas by foreign embassies for simply failing to organise their documents, including photographs, information about family members and employers, criminal history, information about where they live, financial background and medical examinations. Also make copies of all important documents.
- Research your destination: Read up on the country’s weather, and etiquette norms, understand the actions that may offend locals so you can avoid doing them, learn how to greet people and how to share a meal, and be courteous.
- Learn a skill: basic services like hair making, barbing, tailoring and bead-making cost a fortune abroad and acquiring any of these skills can easily guarantee a source of income as you settle in and find your feet in your new country.
- Know someone: Loneliness is a major complaint from Nigerians abroad and you should ensure that you save up contacts of relatives and friends abroad before you relocate. It will also help to stay in touch with people in your home country as you adjust to your new environment and make new friends.
- Think about health care: Health care varies significantly around the world, and your access to a local system could depend on what kind of visa you hold. Before you relocate, find out what options you have for healthcare insurance and coverage.
- Save as much money as you can: Relocation abroad has a list of associated costs and it is best to plan ahead and start saving. Some of these costs include visa, passport renewal, flight tickets, overseas travel insurance, vaccinations and health checks, rent, possible furniture or other items you may need, and living costs to cover you for a period before you start working.
- Have a goal in mind: Before leaving Nigeria, ask yourself what you would really like to get out of your experience abroad. Also, constantly reminding yourself why you chose to move abroad will help you make great decisions about how to spend your time and income overseas.