Opportunities for Nigerian international students in Canada have been steadily increasing over the years, making it an attractive destination for Nigerian students seeking quality education and professional growth.
Canada’s welcoming and inclusive environment, coupled with its excellent academic institutions, creates a fertile ground for Nigerian students to thrive.
Firstly, Canadian universities and colleges offer a wide range of programs and courses that cater to various fields of study. This diversity allows Nigerian students to choose programs that align with their interests and career aspirations. Additionally, Canadian institutions are known for their high academic standards, providing students with top-notch education and valuable skills.
Moreover, Canada provides ample opportunities for international students to gain work experience while studying. The country allows international students to work during their studies. This enables Nigerian students to supplement their finances, gain practical experience, and develop important professional networks, which can prove beneficial for future career prospects.
Furthermore, Canada offers several immigration pathways for international students to transition from studying to working and eventually obtaining permanent residency. The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program allows Nigerian graduates to work in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. This provides a valuable opportunity to gain Canadian work experience and potentially secure permanent residence.
Canada issued 16,160 Study Permits to Nigerians in 2022, up from 9,525 in 2021. It issued a further 5,230 permits to Nigerians in the first quarter of 2023.
Various scholarships and funding options are available specifically for international students, including those from Nigeria. It’s advisable to explore scholarship programs offered by universities and external organizations.
Requirements to study in Canada
To study in Canada, candidates must first be accepted and enrolled at a designated learning institution. Only certain post-secondary schools are designated. All primary and secondary schools are automatically designated.
Candidates must also prove they have enough money to pay for tuition fees, living expenses for themselves and any accompanying family members and return transportation expenses. Current policies allow foreign students to work off campus, without any limit on the number of hours they can work each week.
They must have no criminal record and may be required to obtain a police certificate. They must also be in good health and may be required to get a medical exam.
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Candidates must also prove to the visa officer that they will leave Canada when their study permit expires.
However, there are options for students who may wish to work in Canada after graduation.
Studying in Canada is fiercely competitive. Foreign students applying from an international post-secondary program into a Canadian university program must position themselves strategically with the best qualifications.
This is especially important for students intending to apply to STEM university streams. Most who complete foreign secondary studies are missing essential pre-requisite courses and therefore must fill these gaps with pre cursor courses that university admission offices require.
International Students Applying to STEM University Degree Programs can get a Dual Diploma with Ontario Virtual School
Ontario Virtual School offers international students the required training to qualify for a Canadian high school graduation diploma, online, without having to leave their home country. In many cases, students will only need to complete 7 online courses (provided they have equivalent courses from their home country), giving them enough credits to get a Canadian high school graduation diploma.
They can even begin taking these online courses 1-3 years prior to their home country’s grade 12 high school graduation or they can take all 7 courses after they have completed their home country’s grade 12. Courses can be completed in as little as 4 weeks and students have as long as 12 months to complete one course. Once these courses are completed, they will receive a dual diploma – one from overseas and a Canadian high school diploma recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
Through OVS, students can receive an expert review of their international high school profiles and an assessment of which courses they must take to obtain a dual Canadian diploma.
Tuition fees are the student’s most significant expense since international students pay more in tuition in Canada than permanent residents or citizens.
According to Statistics Canada, the national average tuition fee for an undergraduate program in 2022/2023 for international undergraduate students will range from $7,437 to $21,111 per year.
The amount depends on the province. Ontario is the most expensive province for international students, with above-average undergraduate tuition fees. Newfoundland and Labrador are the least costly, with below-average undergraduate tuition fees.
Remember, the cost of living of the province you choose as expenses, such as accommodation, food, and transport, will be affected.
Accommodation is the next big expense after tuition. However, there is a range of rental options to choose from. Many universities and colleges offer on-campus housing options, including dormitories, apartments, and shared rooms. These are usually furnished and provide easy access to campus facilities. It is ideal for first-year students who have yet to become familiar with their surroundings. Dormitory accommodation may come with meal plans, which are also convenient for first-year students.
Many universities do not offer on-campus accommodation after the first year, so options for off-campus housing are renting apartments, condos, or houses near campus gives students more independence. Find out what goes into signing a lease, paying a security deposit, and budgeting for utilities and other expenses.
In a homestay arrangement, a student lives with a Canadian family in their home, a chance to experience Canadian culture and language in a warm family setting. The host family may provide meals and other support. Canada homestay network has more information.
It is cheaper to share an apartment or house with roommates; however, this option requires adjustments, including carefully considering compatibility and living arrangements.
The cost of accommodation varies depending on the type and location of the housing. On-campus housing is usually cheaper than off-campus. You can pay around $600 to $1,500 monthly for accommodation, depending on the city and the type of housing you choose. Therefore, it is essential to research and understand each rental option’s costs, location, and amenities before deciding.
Even if you have a meal plan included with your accommodation arrangement in Canada, you still need to budget for monthly essentials like toothpaste and the occasional take-outs. Ask about student discounts at grocery stores and restaurants.
International students are also required to have health insurance in Canada. You can purchase private health insurance or get coverage through your school. The cost and plans vary depending on the province. For example, international students studying in British Columbia for over six months must enroll in B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP) and pay a monthly health fee. In Ontario, the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is mandatory health care coverage for registered international and exchange students while they study in Canada. Registered international students are automatically enrolled in UHIP for a 12-month period.
Students living in urban areas or near their universities can easily find reliable public transportation to get around. Bus passes at special student rates are cheaper, but students must also work at the cost of the occasional Uber ride.
Be sure to budget for some fun time too. If you’re not heading home, don’t spend the summer and winter holidays stuck in your room. International students may work full-time during school holidays. Take advantage of this to explore your town and beyond.
You will need climate-appropriate clothing for Canada’s cold winters and hot summers. Canada’s cultural diversity offers an opportunity to encounter different cultures and customs. It’s important to respect cultural differences and to learn about Canadian culture.
You want to stay connected with family while far from home, so it’s essential to have a reliable way to communicate, such as a phone or internet access. While your family is strong support, you need a social network in Canada. Being an international student can be challenging, and having a system in place, such as friends, groups, or a counsellor, is important.
Be prepared and informed and make the most of your time as an international student in Canada.
Work in Canada while studying
Study permit holders can work unlimited hours off campus during their studies in Canada.
Canada lifted a previous 20-hour limit as of November 15, 2022. The temporary measure will be in place until December 31, 2023, when it will either be extended or the 20-hour limit reimposed.
Work after graduation
Canada has established a clear pathway to permanent residence for international students. After graduation, they can apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit, depending on the length of their studies. It can be valid for up to three years, although the federal government has recently been offering extensions to help with Canada’s labour shortages.
The experience gathered as a study permit and work permit holder can count towards an application for permanent residence, either through federal Express Entry programs or one of Canada’s web of provincial streams, targeting candidates with different profiles, skills and job offers.
Candidates score specific Express Entry points for Canadian education, with 15 on offer for one or two-year credentials and 30 points for three years or longer, a Master’s degree or a PhD.
Canada views international students as ideal permanent residence candidates, given they are young, have Canadian experience, understand the culture and have the required language ability.
Overseas immigration agents: Be careful!
Potential study permit candidates are advised to be very careful when working with overseas immigration agents, who often are not qualified or registered with Canadian authorities to handle cases.
Too often, stories surface of candidates who have been fooled by so-called ghost agents in their home countries. Ghost consulting typically occurs when the agent has the applicant submit the online application as the agent does not have a registered account with Canadian authorities.
Ultimately, the candidate is responsible if they are the one submitting the application for a study permit. Working with an immigration lawyer based in Canada is a much safer option. Lawyers are regulated by a provincial or territorial law society and undergo years of education and training and face far more rigorous requirements than immigration consultants.
For more information visit Ontario Virtual School.