Over 71,000 Nigerians Obtain Canadian Citizenship in 19 Years

Over the past 19 years, Canada has welcomed a significant number of Nigerian immigrants, with 71,459 Nigerians obtaining Canadian citizenship between 2005 and 2024, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This milestone places Nigeria among the top 10 countries of origin for new Canadian citizens, highlighting the strong ties and growing community between the two nations.

Canada’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

IRCC, the Canadian government department responsible for immigration, refugees, and citizenship, released data showing that new Canadians come from at least 196 countries and territories. Remarkably, the top 10 countries account for nearly half of all new citizens, underscoring Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism and diversity.

Irene Bloemraad, a political sociologist and migration expert, emphasized the benefits of high citizenship levels among immigrants. “Canada stands out among other immigrant-receiving countries in the very high level of citizenship among immigrants in the country. High levels of citizenship are a good thing: research shows a correlation between holding citizenship and better economic outcomes, a greater sense of belonging to Canada, and, of course, the ability to participate in elections and have a say in policy,” Bloemraad noted.

Leading Source Countries for New Canadians

India has been the leading source of new Canadians since 2005, with 536,279 individuals obtaining citizenship. The Philippines follows closely with 395,694 new citizens, and China ranks third with 292,325. These three countries have consistently contributed significantly to Canada’s growing citizen population.

Other notable contributors include Pakistan (180,999), Iran (130,998), the United States (99,652), the United Kingdom (98,837), Syria (72,706), South Korea (71,939), and Nigeria, rounding out the top 10 with 71,459 new citizens. This diverse range of countries highlights Canada’s global appeal and inclusive immigration policies.

Canada’s Multiculturalism and Immigration Policies

Al Parsai, a Toronto-based immigration consultant, highlighted Canada’s dedication to multiculturalism and diversity. “The consistent number of new citizens from countries like India and the Philippines reflects their significant contributions to the Canadian labor market and society. The rise in new citizens from countries experiencing conflict, like Syria and Ukraine, highlights Canada’s role in providing refuge and support to those in need,” Parsai said.

He added, “The fact that new citizens come from nearly 200 different countries and territories showcases Canada’s global appeal and inclusive immigration policies.”

Future Immigration Plans

In November 2023, Canada announced an ambitious new immigration-level plan aimed at welcoming skilled workers, caregivers, families, and other categories of immigrants. According to a statement released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the country targets the admission of 485,000 new immigrants in 2024. This number is set to increase, with plans to welcome 500,000 new immigrants each year in 2025 and 2026.

The Canadian government emphasized that these immigration plans would cater to economic, family, refugee, and humanitarian classes. This proactive approach aims to ensure that Canada’s immigration policies continue to support the country’s economic growth and uphold its humanitarian commitments.

Economic and Social Benefits of Citizenship

The correlation between citizenship and improved economic outcomes is well-documented. Holding Canadian citizenship not only provides immigrants with a sense of security and belonging but also opens up numerous opportunities for economic advancement. Citizens have the right to vote, access to social services, and greater job prospects.

Moreover, immigrants who become citizens are more likely to invest in their communities, start businesses, and contribute to the local economy. This positive impact extends beyond individual families to the broader society, fostering economic growth and social cohesion.

The significant number of Nigerians obtaining Canadian citizenship over the past 19 years highlights the strong and growing relationship between Nigeria and Canada. As Canada continues to prioritize diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism, its immigration policies will remain crucial in shaping a prosperous and cohesive society.

The Canadian government’s ambitious immigration plans for the coming years reflect its commitment to welcoming new immigrants and ensuring they have the opportunity to thrive. As more individuals from around the world choose to call Canada home, the country’s rich tapestry of cultures and communities will continue to grow, strengthening its social and economic fabric.

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