At least 28,358 Nigerians received invitations to apply for permanent residence in Canada between 2015 and 2021.

This is according to a saturday punch analysis of annual Express Entry reports issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for the years under review.

End of Year Reports summarize all stages of the EE process, from profiling, invitations to apply, applications, and admissions.

According to the report, Nigeria went from the seventh to the second most common country of citizenship for applicants who received an ITA from the Canadian authority in the four years from 2015 to 2019.

Within that period, the number of Nigerians receiving ITAs increased by 889 percent.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Canadian PR invitations to Nigerians increased by 10%, from 5,882 to 6,550.

However, that number was down 52 percent in the previous year.

The breakdown showed that 609, 1041, 5129 and 6024 ITAs were issued in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

While 5,882, 6,550, and 3,123 invitations were issued in 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively.

In 2020, the West African state ranked third globally, behind India and China.

In 2021, however, more South Koreans received ITAs than Nigerians, albeit by a small margin of seven.

From 2015 to 2021, IRCC received at least 2,209,630 profile submissions. 59 percent (1,303,490) of those profiles were qualified as “eligible” for at least one of the federal immigration programs. By contrast, 51 percent (906,140) were not eligible.

In 2022, IRCC processed about 5.2 million permanent, temporary, and citizenship applications.

This doubled the number of applications processed in 2021.

On January 3, 2023, the Canadian government revealed that it welcomed 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022, the highest number since 1913.

It plans to grant permanent residence status to 447,055 and 451,000 immigrants in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Although the Canadian government says that immigrants enrich their communities and contribute to their economy through work, job creation and local businesses, the story is different for regions of origin like Nigeria.

A development economist, Aliyu Ilias, told PUNCH on Saturday that more Nigerians leaving and settling permanently in Canada meant less skilled labor for the country.

“It’s definitely a cause for concern because our professionals are moving because it takes a lot to train these professionals. In the medical sector, Nigeria subsidizes a lot to train people.

“You cannot get training as a doctor or an engineer abroad for a lower price compared to what we get in Nigeria. So it’s a total brain drain in the long run and for the economy, it’s reducing our GDP.

“The terrible thing is that most of our Nigerian brothers and sisters who leave do not return. They get permanent residency and become valuable to the immediate country,” she said.