How Nigerian Universities Can Guarantee 90% Graduate Employment Rate

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This 2016 report from Stutern, the most recent report I found on Nigerian graduates employment rate, reveals as follows: only 50% of Nigerian graduates are employed full time; 3 out of 4 employed graduates earn less than N50,000 ($125) on their first job; more than 80% of Nigerian graduates cannot buy a car from their first salary – only 12% can; and the average first year salary of a graduate of University of Ilorin equals fifteen times their total tuition.

Before now, Nigerian universities, which were mostly public universities, had no incentive to improve their graduates’ employability because demands for their programs far exceeded the supply. However, as more private universities spring up, 79, according to National Universities Commission’s website as of the time of writing, which charge students millions of Naira for tuition, there’s urgent need, more than ever, for institutions to prove an academic program with them is worth the investment. And what better way to prove that than to show that a high percentage of their graduates get employed in their field of study soon after graduation?

Given the large loans students obtain for studies, sometimes running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, schools in the United States already appreciate the need to prove enrolling with them yield a high ROI (Return on Investment). A friend who got admission into a U.S. Law school, and had yet to start his academic program, was already connected to future employers by his Law school. Contrast this with my experience at a private university in Nigeria where the school never once prepared me for job hunting.

As the competition intensifies among Nigerian private schools to retain students from wealthy homes who can afford the luxury of a private university education, Below are five ways schools can improve their graduate employment rate.

  1. Run School-Owned Businesses and  Non-Profits

Schools are supposed to be catalyst for innovation and development and are charged with conducting researches to benefit their host communities. Nigeria’s high unemployment is due to insufficient economic activity. A university that starts a for-profit business could use student labor at a cheap or no cost, try ideas and develop knowledge that can be patented and transferred to the community. As Nigeria tries to boost agriculture production for example, and schools are knows to own large acres of arable land, a school could charge its Engineering Faculty with inventing mechanized equipment for farming, its Agriculture Economics department with managing the farm , Marketing Department with advertising the proceeds for sale and requesting grants from government, Accounting Department with managing the finances and its Biochemistry Department with manufacturing fertilizers and pest control. This may sound utopian but is doable.  And is being done. A Senior Catholic Seminary in Eastern Nigeria has a productive piggery, poultry and produce farm run by seminarians.

To benefit their host communities, schools can also run non-profits. This not only help students gain valuable work experience, but improves a school’s reputatoion. For example, rather than doing mock trials, Law students can run non-profit clinics tasked with providing minimal legal services, for example, applying for bail for indigent inmates, reducing or fulfilling stringent bail conditions etc. Law clinics can also have dispute resolution sections that settle disputes between members of the community. Law schools can partner with the state and courts in this regard as the courts have interest in decongesting prisons and managing caseloads. And you would be surprised at how much, with the benefit of exuberant optimism –even if irrational — of youths, students can accomplish with little guidance . For example, my proudest moment till date as an attorney was about nine years ago, when as second year lawyer I got a criminal case against an accused person, who had been detained for months, dismissed pro bono, without any assistance from a senior attorney.

To support the point above, Best Value Schools has this to say about University of Munich in this article about schools with high employment rates: The key to the Technical University of Munich’s graduate employment success is that many of its jobs are homegrown. What does this mean? Well, as TUM’s facts and figures page points out, TUM has directly generated over 800 start-ups, providing over 14,500 jobs, with many positions going to graduate students. In fact, TUM has been supporting it students’ businesses for 130 years. 

2 Hold  Career Fairs

A school usually needs so many professional services like accounting, banking, legal, IT etc. to function. My undergraduate private university in Nigeria never held a career day for us. A school intentional about improving its students’ employability can start its first career fair by having businesses and firms it patronize, hold fairs in the school to interview and employ the best talents in the school. It becomes a win-win both for the businesses, which gains top talents, and the school, which places its students in gainful employment. A school that gives a business hundreds of millions of Naira worth of business a year should not hesitate to ask the firm to return the favor by employing one of its own. Having career fairs also prepare students for real world interviews.

3. Mandate Internships

I never did an internship during  my undergraduate days. I did, however, in Law School and shortly, I will tell you how the Law school internship benefited me. Internships benefit businesses who get students’ services, with the fresh ideas that come with it, for free, as most are unpaid. In return, students get practical experience in their field of study, make valuable network, and if they distinguish themselves, get employment offer from the employer in time for graduation. For example, after I finished Law school, I went back to work with the law firm I interned with during Law school. As I already had a relationship with the firm, no interviews were required. While I did not make much money working there, my experience there prepared me for a successful career. Here’s another example from the Best Value Schools article previously mentioned, this time, about MIT: “Even among other world-leading universities, MIT stands out. This is due to the way students get full-time jobs through MIT’s support. MIT has a few not so secret weapons that students can leverage. One such tool is MISTI, MIT’s award-winning international internship program. This ensures that all of its students have the opportunity to find intern work across 25 countries. MISTI covers all expenses, including flights, which means students can stop worrying about money and start focusing on achievement. But what impact do internships really have on employment? The answer is lots. In fact, the leading means of an MIT student finding full-time work after completing their studies was a direct result of an internship.”

The same Best Value Schools article also said of University of Oxford: 95% of graduates are in employment or further study within six months of completing their degrees. One of the innovative features of the University of Oxford is its micro internship program, which runs for one week in every term of study, allowing students to quickly gain some useful experience.

4. Develop School Curriculum In Partnership With, and  With Business Communities in Mind

Churning out graduates in fields that are not in high demand perpetuates the cycle of unemployment. Schools who partner with big employers determine what their labor needs are and develop curriculum to fit the business’ needs. This enables the school to feed its graduates into these businesses with little competition from graduates from other schools who may not be knowledgeable about the unique needs of the businesses. For example, most top schools in the U.S. are producing more IT students to meet the business needs of the four tech giants Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apples. For our purpose in Nigeria, Stutern report also found that Computer Science, Economics and Electrical Engineering are the most employable degrees in the country. A school intentional about getting its graduates employed will conducts its own research, promote, and encourage its students to enroll in fields of studies that are in higher demand.

5. Nurture their Alumni

I know a Nigerian university that charges over N50,000 for each transcript application by its alumni (keep in mind less than 25% of Nigerian graduates make this much in a month in their first jobs), water mark same transcripts with the receiving institution’s name and indicate in the cover letter that it is only to be used for the institution, so alums pay the school each time they need a transcript. I know someone who applied to this school four different times for different purposes including employment and graduate studies. Did I mention this school did not have a working email on its website for the institutions and employers to verify the transcripts, causing their alums to lose opportunities? Meanwhile, this school, to the best of my knowledge, has no program whatsoever intentionally geared at ensuring its graduates find employment after leaving school. Not only should a school actively seek to find job for its graduate to increase its ranking, it should offer all support necessary including offering recommendation letters and references to alumni with as little hassle as possible. Moreover, the alum over time become wealth creators themselves and a school that treats its alum well will know when they are capable of hiring other alums and encourage them to do so.

Most of the schools listed in that Best Value School’s List of 30 Colleges Most Likely to Land You an Enjoyable Career have over 90% employment rate within six months of graduation and some have over 70% of graduates with job offer at the time of graduation.

Covenant University Ota – A Nigeria Case Study

The Stutern article lists Covenant University as the school in Nigeria with the highest employment rate at 90%. A look at the school’s website shows the following

A. The school has a center for Entrepreneurial Development Studies (EDS) “a custom-built programme in Covenant University. The programme is an all semester programme and compulsory for all students of the University irrespective of the student’s chosen field of study. It involves both theory and practical. The operations of the programme are housed in the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development Studies (CEDS). The Vision of the Centre is to empower Covenant University graduates entrepreneurially in a bid to make them productive and contribute significantly toward national socio-economic and human development. To develop an entrepreneurial spirit, skills and knowledge in the students of Covenant University and others in the external context so as to empower them to become wealth creators. To empower the entire community in a bid to alleviate poverty in its entire ramification.”

B. The school holds career fairs, and have an Alumni Career Services that help the school’s alum find jobs.

C. The school has Hebron startup lab, an initiative created to help student entrepreneurs successfully launch their startup into the market.

In conclusion, as Nigerians increasingly have more options for graduate and undergraduate studies, universities that yield high ROI will continue to be sought-after, and they can in turn charge premium tuition. A school must be intentional about its graduates’ employability to charge premium fees. It makes business sense then to employ the tools discussed above. With the proliferation of schools, both online and in campus programs, a school that is not intentional about proving its worth will inevitably slip into oblivion.

For consultations contact: Anne Mmeje (annemmeje@yahoo.com)

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Intern or Learn a Skill to Earn N5,000 Per Month for Six Months – Application Open

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Our goal at Intern Nigeria is to prepare unemployed youths for the labor market by providing them resources and encouraging them to create opportunities for themselves. You can read previous posts on the website to learn how we are doing that.

In light of this goal, we are seeking applications from unemployed youths who we will give a  stipend of N5,000 per  month for Six months to learn a skill, or intern with an organization that  will lead to employment.  Application will close on March 27, 2019. Maximum of five winners will be announced on March 30, 2019 and the first payment will go out on April 1, 2019. Keep in mind that to continue receiving payment for the following five months, recipients will be required to show progress and prove that they are on track to meeting the goal of earning a living by the end of six months. Priority will be given to applicants who choose trades/skills they can easily master and set up themselves within six months. Braiding hair, tailoring, painting, teaching in a school, etc. are some suggested skills.

Please note applicants are responsible for finding a place to intern or learn a skill. Applicants are encouraged to approach as many businesses as possible to secure an opportunity for the program.
To qualify, applicants must be following Intern Nigeria on Facebook and must provide answers to the following questions via email to Nigerianintern@gmail.com. All inquiries should be sent to that address as well. Also note that all information provided will be verified by Intern Nigeria before an award can be made.

  1. Your name
  2. Age
  3. Highest education attained
  4. Current  monthly income
  5. Skill you intend to learn
  6. Employer or person who will teach you the  trade/skill; their name, phone number, and  address
  7. Your  city of residence and  address
  8. Your email address
  9. Why you think this program  will help you earn a living at the end of six months
  10. Any other reason why you think you should be granted an opportunity to be part of the program

Please share this opportunity with people who may need it. Good luck.

Anne

How These Six Nigerian Professionals Landed Their Dream Jobs (Culled from Kacheetee.com)

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I have been reading Kacheetee.com, a lifestyle blog run by Kachi, a first-class graduate Nigerian lawyer who also happens to be a Cambridge graduate. One of my favorite categories in her blog is one that features a day in the work Life of different professionals. In the features, the subjects write about how they start their day, how they get to work (by train, bus etc), what their job duties are,  how they got the  job, their typical day at work, the perks of the job etc. The subjects also share  what a person looking for a similar job should do to get into the field. I have provided links for each full feature underneath each excerpt.

Because the goal of our current project Intern Nigeria is to help job seekers, I have culled sections of the features relating  to how these professionals got their jobs. I encourage you to check out the full features because they are inspiring and show us where we can get to if we put our minds to our goals. I hope you enjoy the excerpts below as I did when I first read  them on Kachi’s blog.

The Automation Engineer: Osemhen Akhibi

I got the job by interning with the company when I was in school. They came to the university of Lagos (UNILAG) to advertise their assessed internship program. I completed a project in six months that I presented to HR and business representatives. I must’ve done a good job; I was literally recruited straight out of university. No exams. No interviews. I was pretty lucky. See the full interview here.

Program Analyst (Eliminating  Malaria) – Tiese Etim-Inyang

In college, I flip-flopped between economics and international relations as my degree choices, but finally settled on Psychology.

Then in 2013, three and a half years into my college, I went on my first service trip in the Dominican Republic. It was focused on health (specifically malaria and other mosquito-related diseases) education. I remember returning and thinking “I want to help prevent the spread of disease. I want to help so that fewer people need to go to a doctor for curative reasons.” That September, I signed up to add public health classes to my already tedious college schedule. Later, I studied Global Public Health for a master’s degree. It took eight months of searching after graduation but I eventually found a job in the same field.

I used LinkedIn to search for jobs and it’s how I applied for my current position. It was helpful that I was able to email my resume and cover letter to an actual person not just xyzcompanyhr.net. I noticed that this was when I was more likely to get interviews. For this job, I emailed my resume to my current supervisor and went through two stages of interviews via Skype where I was asked a lot of behavioural questions such as “what would you do in X job-related situation?” but also questions about my public health background and experience—which I always enjoy talking about. I don’t know if my passion, experience, or a combination of both got me the job but I’m still grateful for it. For the full interview click here.

Business/Communications Manager – Ufuoma Okumagba 

I got the job by being a sharp-shooter. I started out in the banking industry in Nigeria. I had completed an undergraduate degree in Banking and Finance from Covenant University so a career in the bank seemed like a logical path to follow. I actually really loved working in Finance for the two years I was in Nigeria until I moved to Canada to pursue a Master’s Degree in International Business. After the program was done, I had to do an internship as it was a requirement for graduation and so the job search began.

Canada was a totally new environment for me and as an immigrant, I struggled at first to adapt to the new landscape. Even the “little” things like resume structures mattered a lot and as you can imagine, it was totally different from what was accepted in Nigeria. Once I got the hang of it all though, the interviews started coming in. A well written resume can really do wonders in the job market anywhere.

Anyway, one day I decided to sign up for a free trial of LinkedIn premium which lets you contact pretty much anyone on LinkedIn via Inmails. Of course there are etiquettes to using the Inmail and I knew all of those. After applying for the internship on the company site, I sent out a well-written message to the recruiter on LinkedIn (read: slid in the DMs). I found her name just by doing a simple LinkedIn search. It was pretty much hit or miss but at that point, there was really nothing to lose.

I sent a very enthusiastic message without coming across as desperate or creepy and it worked. The next day, she replied my message and booked me for an interview spot. I prepared for it, gave it my best shot and voila, I got the job.

A month after my internship was over, I got hired full time and fast forward to two years later, I was promoted to head the team I was working in. So, cheers to small beginnings, being faithful with the “little” tasks, staying grounded, and working hard. And of course, a big shout out to Linkedin’s premium feature, even though I canceled my free trial because it had already served its purpose. Click here for the  full interview. 

University Lecturer (& PhD Student) – Tega Ogbuigwe 

I studied International Business for both my bachelors and masters degree, at the United States International University Nairobi Kenya and the University of Surrey UK respectively. I had a first class in both degrees so it’s no surprise that I am a lecturer and pursing a PhD in the same field right?Seems like I perfectly crafted my career path right? NOPE! To be honest, after high school, I went on vacation then chilled around the house for a few months crafting plans on how to become a dancer and a model SERIOUSLY – in my defence I was 16. And then one day my dad said to me, “you’ve been accepted into this school to study international business”. I was like okay. Apparently while I thought I had been chilling doing A levels in some school, he had organised the entire admission process with them. I had no clue what it was or what it involved or what I could use it for afterwards. I was just happy to be in university.

Anyways fast forward to final year in University and I had just totally fallen in love with the concept of businesses investing in different countries and how the price of a product for instance, was not just determined by the cost of producing the product plus profit on top it. Things like cultural differences, regulations and polices became more significant and I was just intrigued. I had to know more and discover more and it was a no brainer to get a masters degree in the field.

After my masters in the UK I came back to Nigeria for my NYSC and shortly after that I got a job in a large agrochemical company working in HR. Though it wasn’t directly my field, it was related and I had a very good understanding on how things worked. To be honest, I could have easily built a career path, a very good one too, in that field but I just never felt quite settled in there. You know when you feel like, this is good but it’s not right? Yeah… that’s how I felt.

And then there was an advertisement for lecturers at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria. After talking to my dad and boyfriend (now husband) they thought it was a good fit for me, so I applied and interviewed for the position. That was the beginning of my journey as an academic and it truly is a good fit for me. 4 years into lecturing at the university, it was time to take the next step in my career which of course required a PhD so I was starting to write PhD research proposals and fill in applications.

When I tell people I am a Nigerian based in New Zealand they always ask why? Why did you choose New Zealand? My response is always the opposite; New Zealand chose me.

While I was planning to get a doctorate, my default search was Canada and the United States (I didn’t even bother with the UK because I had a bad experience during my masters research). I completed all the requirements, GMAT, ridiculous application fees, countless skype interviews and all the hops with these schools.

While I was waiting to hear back a friend of mine told about how NZ universities were more straightforward and “relaxed”. I think what got me interested was the word “relaxed”. Everything I had read about doing a PhD seemed like it was the end of the world so being in a generally relaxed environment seemed nicely different.

I did a quick google search on New Zealand and I was just hooked to my PC screen for the rest of the day. It was a beautiful place, nice people, beautiful weather. If I am going to spend the next 3 to 4 years reading and researching I might as well do it in a beautiful place right? Then I did a quick search for PhD’s in my field and my university popped up. It was a really nice surprise because in all my search for a PhD, I had never seen an actual PhD in International Business degree; most of them were either in management or something different with an international business component. So I was like “Oh God is this a sign“?

And then I opened the link – there was an advertisement for intending PhD students with lecturing experience and research interest in foreign direct investment to work with Victoria University and the government on policy implementation (almost like they had me in mind really).

They required a 7000 word proposal and the deadline was in 2 days. I don’t think I even read anymore after that. I closed the page opened Microsoft word and typed away without stopping until I reached the word limit (yo the hype was real). Sent in my application and forgot about it. To be honest I didn’t invest my heart in it because I knew my proposal was substandard. Anyways, 6 weeks later, I got an email inviting me for a skype interview and I was like OMG!!!!

I will tell you a funny secret. For the skype interview I wore a really nice work shirt and my hubby’s boxers (trust me it made me less nervous) and it wasn’t really an interview in my opinion, it was more like a chat between old colleagues. New Zealanders are indeed nice. From the interview I kind of had a feeling they were really interested in me. And one-week letter I got the offer. Research with the University and the government with lecturing hours included. PERFECT! The rest they say is history

Click here for the full interview

Audit Senior Manager – Dee Olateru

I started my career in the US with the same firm and I got the job when they came to recruit on campus at the University of Illinois where I was in the Master Program. Sounds easy right? No.

Allow me to digress a bit and give you the back-story.

So I finished my undergraduate degree and graduated with the equivalent of a first class but could not get a job that would sponsor me for an employment visa in the US. I had bills to pay and I don’t have time to cry so I took a job working in a factory making light fixtures. I was the most educated person on the floor and it took a while for my colleagues to warm up to the new ‘college kid’ but they did. Let me tell you, I got so strong physically my arms were #goals (move over Michelle Obama!). Normally, I’m the slowest eater you’ll ever meet but those days, I’d get home from work and demolish a huge serving of eba while my roommates would stare at me like… “who is this?” It was a lot of hard work but I know a thing or two about using tools and putting things together… don’t let the heels and suits fool you. In that time, I continued to apply to jobs, more than 500 applications later… nothing.

Then plan B kicked in: I’d apply to a Masters of Accountancy program (which I didn’t need) but I’d only apply to top 3 programs in the US (because, why not?). These schools had access to top employers and programs lasted one year. I applied, and thankfully got accepted with two offering scholarships. I was now in a place to choose but I’ll never forget how it felt receiving those letters/phone calls. Thank the Lord; because the kind of money the schools were asking for was way outside my economic bandwidth. I ended up at University of Illinois for my masters.

So, my current firm came to the University of Illinois campus to recruit. I attended their events, as did other students. This time, it was ‘get a job to head back to Nigeria’ for me. Good grades were not enough of a differentiator as there were lots of intelligent people in my class; it was like a brain convention. I attended the firm’s events and engaged with representatives. I did my homework in advance and followed up promptly. I also ate all the free food they offered at these events – no shame in my student budget game! I finally got the chance for an interview and three rounds later, while I was in my friends car leaving the last interview, I got the call with the offer.

It took a year at a factory plus an additional year in school to get there. This goes to say… stay the path. Some things take longer than you want or than you think you deserve. Others may seem to have it easier but everyone’s path is unique and there’s often a beauty to our struggles that we only see in retrospect. Cry, whine, sulk, but get up and ‘kick the sh*t out of Plan B!

My firm won a large global client – one of the largest in this industry in decades and there was a call for nominations for 4 people in the US with a specific skill set. I had no clue about this call for nominations. Thankfully, this was discussed at a regional partner meeting where three people (sponsors, God bless them!) thought about me and decided to see if I was interested for both personal and professional reasons. For me, this came out of the blue as it was at a point where I was considering other options within and outside the firm. I thought through it, talked with family and close friends and I said yes. I had one phone ‘interview’ and three months later on my birthday, I hopped on a flight to the U.K. Click here for the full feature.

Editor & Content Producer – Nicole Asinugo

I couldn’t quite articulate but always knew I wanted. I studied Law at University and I think I knew it wasn’t for me during my first Land Law lecture. I was genuinely paying attention but I couldn’t keep up with what the lecturer was talking about. I found all the terminologies exhausting and boring and I instantly wanted to change my course to something else. I was really good at English and Literature and History in my secondary school and A Levels but Law just felt really… bland.

After University, I knew I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t know where to start. So, I went for a course at London School of Journalism. However, that too didn’t feel like the right fit because it was very much about serious journalism and investigative reporting. I tried to like it but it didn’t do it for me. I came back to Nigeria and worked as a news writer at Channels Television for a year. It was an interesting experience but again in terms of my writing, I felt very limited. When you are writing about the news you can’t say ‘An eerie silence swept the room as the President addressed the crowd’. You have to say ‘The President addressed the crowd’. Done. No drama, no fun, no me.

And then, I watched Mad Men. And I saw that people created ads for a living and I thought ‘Oh my God, I can do that – that’s what I want to do’. My sister found out the agency that Mad Men was based off – DDB – had an office in Lagos. And the rest was history. After three years of copy writing at DDB, I had started blogging on the side. Being exposed to art directors, graphic designers and photographers really lit up a creative flare in me and I started creating cool content. I would send emails to magazines like Guardian Life and just give them content which they always happily published.

Then one day, my former boss at DDB told me Ndani TV was looking to start a lifestyle blog and asked me if I would like to interview for the role. My first interview was with the Head of Production and Creative Director of Ndani TV. The second and scarier interview was with the then Head of Corporate Affairs at GTBank and after a few days, I got a call, that I got the job.

It was really life changing for me because it was a management role (a major step up from my DDB days) and it was everything I felt like I was interested in on the side, but now I was getting paid to do it for real. Click here for the full future.

Comment: It’s amazing how technology: LinkedIn, Skype, Google etc helped these professionals get their dream jobs. These features also highlight how interning can help one get their foot in the door. Finally what can we do without family? Fathers and husbands in this  case. I hope you were inspired by these professionals like I was. I appreciate the hard work Kachi and these  professionals put into getting these features out. These excerpts are reproduced under the doctrine of fair use. The copyright  belongs to (c) Kacheetee.com. 

Mentorship is Half the Battle in Achieving Success; Here’s a Plan We are Working On

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Sometime in 2009, a few months after I  finished the National Youth Service, I was preparing dinner in the kitchen when a call came into my phone. The caller was from Globacom, a leading telecommunication company in Nigeria. The caller was inviting me to interview for an  attorney position with the company. At first, I thought it was my sister Amara, ever  the teaser, pulling a  prank on me and I kept telling the caller, whom I thought was Amara, to stop the prank. She  patiently explained to me that it was real and  gave me  an address in Victoria Island, an upscale area of Lagos –I was in Aba — to come for the interview.  I never imagined  Globacom would invite me for an interview. But then I remembered that weeks prior to that, I had applied for an attorney position to a generic email in response to a job advert that did not  disclose the employer. After talking to family members and determining the invitation was genuine, I traveled to Lagos for the screening test at Glo’s shiny tower and went back home  to Aba.

A few weeks later, I got another call that I had to be in  Abuja the  following day for a second interview. I think it was late afternoon and the only way to get to Lagos in time  for the interview the next day was to take a flight. My father generously paid for my flight – my first ever experience flying – that evening.

When I got  to Globacom office the next day, I learned I was to be interviewed by Bella Adenuga, the CEO’s daughter.  When I met Bella, her first question was, “what name do you go by?” I didn’t grow up with English as I first language. The lady next to her explained that Bella was inquiring if I wanted  to be addressed by Anne or Oluchi as I had both names on my resume.  I answered that question. Next, Bella asked me “Tell me  about yourself.” Before that time, I had never been to or prepared for a job interview. I wish I knew then what I know now.  Rather than tell her about my academic and  professional qualifications, I prattled on about how I was the fourth of eight  children and how I attended a Catholic secondary school. Bella did not go past that question before she dismissed me. And just like that, I wasted the hard-earned flight fare my dad, who I don’t think had ever flown at that time, gave me. Mission unaccomplished.

Fast forward to 2017, I had moved to another country and had been targeting to get a job in a particular sector without success, when I got an invitation for an opening in the sector.  I looked on LinkedIn and elsewhere, thank you Google, and recognized an Igbo name from a list of attorneys who work at the establishment. I found a phone number for the attorney online and sent  him a long text message, apologized I could not  find his email address, hence the text. I introduced myself as a fellow Nigerian trying to interview with his agency. We have not seen till date but the attorney did text me back and scheduled a time to prepare me for the interview over the phone. His tips were invaluable. I eventually did not get that job, but I have been to other successful interviews  in that sector because of the graciousness of that attorney.

Before getting a university degree became the norm, our parents used the apprenticeship system to set up young people to succeed, something youths today don’t get.  In this TedTalk Roberet Neuwirth said “I can say with almost certainty that the Igbo apprenticeship system that governs Alaba International Market is the largest business incubator platform in the world.” Our generation tend to be  employees ourselves and  don’t have opportunity to replicate this system. But we have to look around to see other ways we can help and that is why I started this project.

In a few posts from now, I will be announcing the first set of opportunities we will be providing on this platform. We will use the little fund we have raised so far to kickstart the process; we can’t make an impact if we keep waiting until we have million dollar resources. We are thinking of offering monthly stipend, not much, to five youths who can find a place to learn a trade  for six months. Priority will be given to youths who choose trades they can set up themselves with no capital after six months. From our previous survey on Facebook, it appears braiding hair, barbing, painting, driving uber, appear to be clear winners. If you are a business owner and will like to mentor or train someone in a trade for six months, we will like to hear from you. You won’t be required to pay wages.  Please send an email to Nigerianintern@gmail.com.

From the Facebook Survey, there were also very valuable suggestions on certifications that can increase employability. That may require some resources and we are still researching on that.

If you are  unemployed and have zero income, start looking around in your area to see what trade you may learn. The stipend that will be given is minimal (not more than N5,000 a month); the donors hope it can at least help towards transportation. If you have someone looking for opportunities in Nigeria, Please have them join the Facebook Group Intern Nigeria. We  will be posting updates there.

Thank you all for your positive Feedback on the Facebook Survey. Let’s all work together for a Nigeria we can be proud of.

Anne

Intern Nigeria Survey

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After a seeming long wait since Nigeria’s election on February 23rd, Nigeria’s electoral body, INEC, announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will have another four years to take Nigeria to the “Next Level”. The announcement was met with mostly mixed feelings. While the president in the past four years successfully, for the most part, defeated Boko Haram and increased agricultural output, the economy suffered depression under his leadership and is still recovering.

After all is said and done, however, the burden lies on Nigerians, individually, to do what we can to build our country. For the past month, I have been researching on how to help Nigeria’s teeming unemployed youths find job. I launched Intern Nigeria, which I wrote about briefly before. The goal is to help job seekers find jobs. I haven’t figured out everything yet, but for a start, please answer the questions below, if you can, to help us know exactly how to help. My target is to help people who are currently unemployed, who earn zero income. If you are underemployed, you are already on the right track, and would not need my help much. If you are employed or an employer of labor, please also help in answering the questions and provide ideas on how to tackle unemployment in Nigeria.

1. What university degrees in Nigeria guarantees immediate employment after graduation the most?
2. What trades/skills do not require a formal education, are in demand, require minimal capital, and are easy to learn and set up?
3. What skills are in high demand but have little supply?
4. If you are unemployed, what is the greatest challenge you face in finding a job or owning a business?

Obviously, I don’t have monetary resources to solve these problems but my little research in the past month revealed that some States, including Lagos, offer training to unemployed people and provide loans to small businesses. I also believe that when we start looking for answers, God provides the resources.

Please feel free to leave a response in the comment section or email me at annemmeje@yahoo.com. I also have the  survey up on my Facebook page and will use answers from all platforms to decide the next steps to take.

Thank you.

Introducing Intern Nigeria

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I have developed new interests since my last post on this website in February, 2018. Chika remains a smart immigration advocate you can trust with your immigration needs.  I now work as a mediator in public service and in the coming  years, hope to grow further in that field. Trading the delays, cost and adversarial nature of litigation for the speedier, cheaper and peaceful alternative to resolving disputes has been fulfilling. I still maintain my law licenses in California and Nigeria. Indeed, my legal background prepared me for my current role in peacemaking. If you ever have need for an informal mediation and all disputing parties consent, shoot me an email.

In addition to my day job, I have developed interest in helping people find jobs, especially their first jobs. My husband always jokes that I could start career counseling professionally since I have fun doing it. I  still have several rungs  to climb on the  career ladder but I have gleaned a lot from my experience applying for several jobs to be in a position where I can help others starting out. In that spirit, I am introducing Intern Nigeria, a project where I will be providing tips to up-and-coming job seekers on how to find jobs. In subsequent posts, I will be doing a survey to find out what challenges job seekers in Nigeria face, so I will address them in  future posts. I will also write about how my career has been helped greatly by people who mentored  me. I will also  do a post on volunteering, interning, and staying busy while waiting for the  ideal job.

I hope you will come along with me on this ride as we tackle unemployment, which is arguably the greatest challenge facing Nigeria. Through this project, I hope  to connect job-seekers and employers.

Expect my subsequent posts and join Intern Nigeria on Facebook for updates.

Thank you,

Anne

Travel Smart with Attorney Chika Okoroafor: Dear Foreigners, Here’s How to and Why You Should Invest In Nigeria

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The Travel Smart Series is written by Chika Okoroafor, an Immigration Lawyer based in Nigeria.

Happy New Year, fellow Smart Travelers, and thank you so much for your support last year. For all those who wrote us, rest assured we will attend to all your inquires soon. Today’s post is all about educating foreigners on how to invest in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.

A line by Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey) in Fast and Furious 8, I saw the movie recently,   goes something like “… so she has rendered my app obsolete…”  The Fast team wanted to use God’s eye to track down Vin diesel, only to find out that Charize Theron  had developed an app, or something similar, that interferes with the trace result, such that when “God’s eyes” is used to track an individual, the trace response will read multiple locations.

That line from Nathalie resonates with me. In IT-advanced countries like China, US etc. an inventor’s misfortune is the realisation that a breakthrough in a technology that perhaps they have invested their life’s worth on developing and perfecting is worth nothing because a bigger tech companies have long developed and patented a technology with the same functionality. Hence the technology is rendered obsolete on arrival.

In Nigeria and other third world countries, most of our industries are behind when compared with first world countries. Mobile phones started making waves in the early 70’s. By late 80’s mobile phones were already commercialised in developed countries. As far back as the 80’s, mobile phones were regular gadgets accessible to  common folks. It took Nigeria three decades later to commercialize mobile phones. At the time mobile phones came into Nigeria commercial market, what was been circulated were the early 70/80 prototypes. In summary an inventor whose product is “obsolete” in the 1st world may find relevance in Nigeria and other third world countries. Relevance is one of the reasons why investing in Nigeria may benefit a foreigner.

Besides relevance, below are other benefits of investing Nigeria, African’s largest economy:

  • Surplus variations of natural resources
  • Relatively favourable business environment
  • Free market economy
  • High return on investment
  • Available and affordable work force (over 70% of Nigeria population are youths under 30)
  • Political stability
  • Large consumer market (a population of over 155 million Nigeria is the most populous country and eight in the world)
  • Large and fertile land mass for Agro- Allied industries etc.

There are a lot of publications, with projections and statistical proofs, on the many benefits of investing in Nigeria. I will not be rehashing those; rather I will be writing on the practicability of foreigners or “Aliens” (using our local statutory term) doing business in Nigeria. This is based on my research.

Sometime last year, my firm was approached by two foreign companies. One of the companies was a Property/Estate Developer and Manager Company based in Dubai. I was elected by my firm to oversee the project of drafting a proposal of what it will take, in cost and tenure, for the foreign client to get all necessary permits to do business in Nigeria.  Hitherto all I knew about procedure of alien doing business in Nigeria were mere text book knowledge. I was excited that I would finally get to put them into practice. I knew it was going to be tasking, but I have long ago developed a simple problem-solving approach. I call it the Down-Up system. The solution to most legal issues can be surmounted by simply doing two things

First, look DOWN, read books and do your research, precedent is a lawyer’s best tool. Where you still cannot connect all the dots then you look UP to your seniors in practice. For me though, even when I think I have all that I need, especially for hitherto gray areas areas of practice I have zero practical experience on, I will still look UP i.e consult colleagues and seniors in practice and run it by them. You know the saying that “that it all may be lawful but not expedient.”

Apart from personal gain, I was proud that in time of recession and gross unemployment, that via these companies a lot of job opportunities will be created. The companies will most definitely employ local hands; properties will be purchased or leased to run the businesses. In summary, so many people where going to benefit on the long run. So with so much drive and motivation I kicked-started my research.

My discoveries: To perfect a Business permit for an alien to participate in business, there is no clear cut procedure. The process will vary in accordance with the particulars of the business involved. Approval has to be gotten from various Government agency eg CAC, NIPC, DPR, CBN,  Ministry of Interior, Nigeria Customs, state/federal Ministry of land depending on location ( if the company intends to acquire property where it will run its business). Approvals are not gotten consecutively or concurrently. In fact the whole process is a potpourri of various intertwining processes. So here you start with one agency and get to a point where to continue, another agency’s approval has to be gotten before the previous agency can conclude because you cannot initiate the next step or conclude without certain approvals. I had all the information I needed to draft a proposal, advice, cost and to estimate tenure for the whole process. Eventually I drafted a proposal.

PEBEC AND VOA TO THE RESCUE

Early 2017, a senior officer at the ministry of interior with whom I brainstormed the tediousness of the Alien Business participation legalization processes, hinted PEBEC to me. The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) was set up in July 2016 by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business. It is a new government initiative constituted to take away the bottlenecks associated with regularizing foreigner’s participation in doing business in Nigeria.

There’s also VOA, an acronym for Visa on arrival. VOA is a privilege offered to business investors from ALL countries (except citizens of ECOWAS national who don’t need visas to enter Nigeria). So for business investors,the absence of Nigeria mission/embassies in your country will pose no hindrance. Even where there is a mission/embassy but it is urgent for an imminent business purpose, it is still okay to use VOA.  All you need is a VOA approval letter and flight ticket. On arrival at the port of entry, there is a desk marked “visa on arrival” where your entry will be regularized.

The VOA procedure is simple and can be done in two ways.

Please note this  procedure is available to business visitors alone and VOA approval letter MUST be mailed to applicant/representative before trip is embarked on.

In summary, via PEBEC and VOA initiative, for a foreigner who intends to invest in Nigeria, the regularization process is now a mere walk in the park and you can always count on us to walk you through.

 

Please share this with people who may benefit from it and write us at attorneychika@gmail.com with all your  inquiries.

Till next post, stay smart.

Chika okoroafor

 

Travel Smart With Attorney Chika Okoroafor: Why You Should Start Going to Vacations Abroad Even If You Don’t Intend to Migrate Right Now

 

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The Travel Smart Series is written by Chika Okoroafor, an immigration lawyer based in Nigeria. To see our very first interview with her, click here. I partner with her to produce the series so as to create awareness of the legitimate means available for those who wish to travel abroad. We hope this effort will help reduce the epidemic of human trafficking which  results when desperate Nigerians try to migrate to other countries illegally.  

For a while now I have been trying to finish a post on International Investment for foreigners who are interested in investing in Nigeria and for Nigerians who are interested in investing abroad. It ought to have been posted weeks back but somehow other topics have kept it in the shadow. I was determined to finish it and finally get it out this week but  I am afraid that won’t be the case. Today’s post is inspired by interactions I had with two individuals who contacted me independently, via this medium. Although they had different stories and plans, I realised that at the end of the day, to each, I was making similar submission as to the other. I realised that even with some variances in their individual facts, they share the same fundamental defects, hence the similarity in the solution I proffered. Before I go into the main discussion please permit me to digress a little.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Italian authorities recovered the corpse of 26 female Nigerians (some as young as 14), illegal migrants who died in the Mediterranean sea while crossing into Italy from Libya.  375 other migrants were rescued and according to The Guardian, most of the survivors were either Nigerians or from other Sub-Saharan countries including Ghana, Sudan and Senegal. It was also reported that these migrants were victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. About a week ago, I watched on TV the mass funeral and burial ceremony given to the 26 deceased by the Italians during which Nigerian officials were conspicuously absent. There are arguments that there are no proofs that the 26 were (all) Nigerians.  To me this is the most pathetic excuse and totally irrelevant.

Human trafficking, especially women trafficking, has been a menace in our country for God knows how long. Our Government, however, is yet to take definite action or take a firm approach towards putting an end to it.  Because the routes and tactics through which this evil is perpetrated are well known, we don’t need a rocket scientist to proffer a permanent solution to end this inhumane act. So the question is: Why is human trafficking still alive and well in our country? If you think corruption, well, your guess is as good as mine. However, it will take the most deviant in heart to look the other way, while young female children are being trafficked.  I implore every one of us to please be our brother’s keeper.  Most of these girls are taken involuntarily. Let us report to relevant authorities immediately, if we suspect anyone or group of person to be perpetrators. May God help us and all of ours.

To our main discussion for today, we will be looking into the relevance of a good immigration/travel history vis-a-vis issues presented by the two individuals I interacted with earlier this week.

Client A is a soft-spoken young man, single, in his early thirties. He earns a modest income working for a reputable organisation; he is also an entrepreneur with strings of businesses here and there.  For the past five years until quite recently, he could boast of a net worth of about Fifty Million Naira (N50, 000,000).  Like most businesses in Nigeria, he’s also suffered some challenges that led to a drastic fall in his net worth in recent time.  He contacted me because he is desirous of exploring prospective international contacts, in Canada, for some business prospects.

Client B. Coincidentally another young man, who recently turned 19 years old, is from a middle class home. He has been trying to gain admission into the University for the past three years but hasn’t been successful.  To pacify him for his recent disappointment over yet another unsuccessful attempt to gain admission into the university and course of his choice, his parents are willingly to sponsor him for a trip abroad for a holiday, preferably to the UK or US where they have relatives who will receive him. On further inquiry, I discovered that client B’s parents are seasoned travelers with impeccable immigration/travel history

Unfortunately for both clients in the scenarios above, in my humble opinion, based on their current circumstances, chances that they will be granted visas on their application for a visitor’s visa to the destinations they seek is quite narrow and thus not advisable. It’s most unfortunate that both of them could have built an excellent travel history if they had made use of their immigration/travel opportunity peak period.

Do you know when your travel opportunity peak period is? Are you making use of it? Are you developing your immigration/travel record? Perhaps this post will gain you some enlightenment about why your response to the above questions ought to be in the affirmative.

In assessing a client for financial eligibility, I always request for client’s current six months financial record, in other words, bank statement(s). For Client A, it can easily be deduced from his bank statement that presently his financial circumstance is in distress because there is a great disparity in turnover from previous months and the later months. Because client A is single (no family ties) he has only his financial circumstances to establish reasonable ties. Establishing ties in home country is a prerequisite factor for the grant of a visitor’s visa. Clients A’s financial statement from a year ago (2016) was impeccable, great turnovers and stable income flow and it would have made an excellent document to build his immigration/travel records on. But it’s a typical average Nigerian mentality (especially those of us from the Eastern region of Nigeria) of those who are relatively financially well off, but see traveling as waste, except there is an immediate financial gain attached.  We fail to see the greater picture, which is that in the business world, to grow is to continuously explore and expand; nothing in life, business, technology, science etc is static. If you don’t grow, sooner or later, you become obsolete. A little bit of advice to us: No matter how palmy our present business, job, career maybe at the moment, we shouldn’t get too comfortable in a particular spot no matter how good it may seem at the moment. It pays to keep exploring ways to do more, know more and keep being better.  In whatever we do, we should avoid being monotonous at all cost.

Another hitch in Client A’s path is his country of interest. The Canadian high commission, from my practical experience in this line of business, is what we term as “not first-timers friendly”.  There are some diplomatic missions who are very skeptical about “visitors” with zero travel record. So I would not ordinarily (they are few exceptions though) advise a client to apply for a Canadian tourist/other visitors visa if such applicant had not previously  been to United States. However, Client A’s case is redeemable.

My recommendation to Client A

  • To Wait: First, he has to tidy up his financial. He will run a separate account for his salary and another account for income from side his hustle. His business account will be allowed to phase out the previous financial activities so in another couple of months, his future six months statement will read a stable revenue flow albeit a more moderate turnover. Financial eligibility is not all about huge turnovers but financial consistency/stability.
  • On a zero immigration/travel history and in the absence of a specific special visitation grounds, I will not advise him to apply to Canada first. I suggested a couple of “first-timers friendly” diplomatic missions where ceteris paribus, his application as a first-timer will stand a good chance. After he has made a couple of trips, then he may approach the Canadian High Commission.

About Client B, being an unemployed adult (above 18years) he is most likely to be viewed by any entry clearance officer assessing his application as an economic migrant and hence ineligible for a visitor’s visa. His parents’ sponsorship and the fact he has an invitation of family /friend who are legal residents of host country notwithstanding. Assessment is first and foremost individual-based.  The simple summary of client B’s individual assessment will reveal an unemployed adult, poor financial status, zero ties to home country.  However a few years back, when Client B was still a minor and perhaps in secondary school, an application for visitor visa would have been granted, why? He was a minor dependent on his parents’ financial status and his tie would be his educational status in his home country. In that scenario, as long as his parents could afford to sponsor him, and every other thing being equal, he is eligible to be granted entry permit. Client B’s parents would have taken advantage of his secondary school study period to build an immigration record for him by simply taking him along a few of their numerous previous trips abroad. As little as three trips to UK can earn an applicant privileged to a five year multiple entry visitor visa. The US embassy grants eligible applicant 2 years multiple entry visitor’s visa renewable via drop box (the drop box options is not an absolute right though). In other words if Client B had taken advantage of his immigration/travel peak period ( in this case while he was still in school), chances are that he may, like his parents, have valid visas/entry right at the present  and there would not have been any need to approach the diplomatic missions.  All he would have needed would be tickets to his destination and bon voyage.

Recommendations

  • To wait till he has proof of reasonable ties. In this instance, the easiest evidence of ties for client B to develop is academic pursuit. He needs to get into school (University) and while in school during school holiday he may start developing his immigration/travel record. Except he intends to change his visa route say from visit to study, then it’s a different procedure one which may not necessarily need evidence of an ongoing academic pursuit.
  • Since the trip is merely for Client B’s amusement, I suggested tourist location within Nigeria top on my list (Obudu cattle ranch in the beautiful state of Cross Rivers) or other regions where visa processing is not strict or visa free. The suggestions may not be as glamorous or exciting for client B as what his parents had promised but my job is to give advice from list of options, that which will suit client’s best in any prevailing circumstances. And like folks around here would say; at all, at all, na em bad pass or in other phrase; half bread is better than nothing.

Moral of today’s post: if /when you can afford it, please do develop you immigration/travel record. You may not necessarily be a chronic traveler to do this. As little as one trip a year or one in two years, strategically planned, may be all you need. The important thing is to create a bridge between yourself and countries of interest. On the long run you will discover it is worth it. This advice is most useful for us in Nigeria and other 3rd world countries.  Most of our local industries are constantly playing catch up with contemporaries in countries in the 1st world. If we are to retain relevance in any field and perhaps dare to top local competitors, we have to have access to the right information and contacts globally via attending conferences, trade fairs, trainings, short/long course etc; hence the essence of a healthy immigration/travel history.

I hope today’s post resonates with someone. If you want to know when you are at you immigration/travel peak or wish to start or develop your immigration/travel record, we are available to advise, guide and assist in any way we can. Who says you cannot mix business with pleasure? When you travel smart, you can turn a holiday to business prospects (without breaching your visitor’s visa conditions). When you travel smart you can eat your cake and have it.

Thank you for your mails. Like I mentioned earlier, this post was inspired by your inquiries and I hope to draw more inspiration for future post from your emails and comments. As usual, inquires at the comment session will be promptly attended to. Private inquiries are welcomed too at attorneychika@gmail.com.

Till next time, keep smart and remember, sharing is caring

Chika Okoroafor

 

Travel Smart With Attorney Chika Okoroafor: Dear Nurses, Here’s How to Register with Nursing and Midwifery Council as a First Step to Getting Your Work Visa in UK

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The Travel Smart Series is guest-posted by Chika Okoroafor, an Immigration Lawyer based in Nigeria. See our interview with her here.

Since the last publication on the UK tier 2 work visa, our mail box has been swamped with inquiries from interested parties. Unfortunately, other than Nurses and Midwifes, we do not have the contacts yet to help other professionals whose skills are enlisted on the Tier 2 occupation list and Tier 2 shortage occupation list.

We are still working on making contact with more human resource companies in the UK to cover more fields in order to be able to give our teeming clients of various professions the opportunity of getting job offers and placements in the UK.  As we have learnt from the previous post, a Job offer is a mandatory requirement for accessing a Tier 2 visa.

However, other professionals whose skill sets are enlisted in the tier 2 occupation lists can solicit the help of family and friends in the UK to seek out possible employment or scuff the net for job opportunities by themselves. Google is always very helpful in this regards. You may also register with UK-based human resource companies. Just be sure to do your due diligence. There may be some registration fees to be paid, but be certain it’s a reputable organisation before parting with your money.

For nurses and midwives, NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) is the professional body in charge of nurses and midwives in the UK. It is mandatory that anyone who intends to work in the nursing and midwifery profession in the UK register with NMC and get necessary certifications.

Registering with NMC

1             create an account in https://ireg.nmc-uk.org

2             Start application

3             Book Pearson VEU English test date

4             pay for the test (£130 or $172)

5             pass test and conclude application

Please Note: Pearson VEU test is an online Computer Base Test (CBT). For all the requirements for registering with NMC, please see this link.

We will only come in after an applicant has successfully registered with NMC. Our duty will be to link applicants to available job offers via our contacts in the UK. We will also provide guidance and visa packaging assistance.

For applicants who wrote us with regards to certain challenges they encountered in completing the NMC registration, such as

  • In ability to pay for the Pearson Test using their bank debit card
  • Stopping half way and not remembering login details
  • Not fully comprehending the questions etc.,

We have come up with some solutions. Issue 1 can be resolved by using a dollar (USD) debit card.  You must have a USD account to have a USD debit card or you can get someone who has to make payment on your behalf.

With regards to all the above challenges, we decided that an applicant may approach us to assist with the registration with NMC for a minimum service charge. Applicant will provide necessary information and funds for registration so we can make payment on their behalf.

I hope this post helps with our collective inquiries. If not, please rewrite us or you may post your question on the comment section and will promptly respond to you.

Thank you for inspiring us with you mails, comments and shares.

Till next time on Travel Smart Series, keep safe

Chika Okoroafor

P:S. As stated above, while ideally, we come in after an applicant has registered with NMC, for a small fee, we are willing to guide applicants who need assistance to register with NMC.

 

 

 

 

Travel Smart With Attorney Chika Okoroafor: How to Get an Immigrant Visa to Developed Countries through Employment

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Anne’s note: The Travel Smart Series is written by Chika Okoroafor, an Immigration Lawyer based in Nigeria. I have partnered with her to create awareness of  legitimate ways to migrate to western countries. We hope that the series dissuade youths from third world countries from crossing to developed countries illegally. Many young Africans have lost their lives at sea in search of often elusive greener pastures. Most recently, six days ago, Washington Post reported that 26 female Nigerians, aged 14-18 years, were found dead in the Mediterranean sea. They died trying to cross from Libya to Europe.

So we have opened discussions on migrate visas and how it is important that intending migrants get in the right visa platform for migrating purposes. If you missed it, don’t worry, just click on this link. We kicked off with student visas as a migrant’s visa option. Because student visa is broad with plethora of options ranging from, choice of country, school, tuition fee etc., we said it is generally the more accessible migrate route.  Today, I will be discussing Migration via work visa.

Work visas are restricted obviously; no country will allow foreigners to take up employment where local workforce is available to do same. However, circumstances such as those listed below may warrant a state to open visa route to foreigners for work purposes.

  • Dwindling population: A dwindling population may be due to diseases, war, excessive birth control practice (country where you have more of senior citizens and minors have a dwindling labour population) or other catastrophes. If the country has to remain operational, it has to source its labour force elsewhere, hence the country will relax its work visa regulations and may add some incentives to attract migrants.
  • Set skill shortage: Where population is not an issue, a country may still be forced to open its border to economic migrants to fill in sectors where there are no or insufficient local workers with particular required skills sets.
  • Experts (or using the United Kingdom diplomatic mission term “exceptional talent”). There are work visas available, though highly restrictive, to individuals that are experts or individuals with exceptional talent in particular fields. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian novelist and feminism advocate, got her immigrant visa to U.S. through this category.

The above are a few reasons why work visas may be made available to foreigners.

METHODOLOGY OF WORK VISAS

Open poll: For example, via visa lottery. A country may throw an open poll for certain age group and/or set skills albeit temporarily.

Contract of employment: Since work visas are for work purposes, employers, where there are no local workers to fill up vacancies, are allowed by the state, via its regulations, to source for their work force from foreign countries. A country will ordinarily put in place regulations that will mandate an employer to fill up any vacancy with local worker. But where the regulation is relaxed for either of the reasons listed above or any reason whatsoever, a potential employer can advertise vacancies to the world directly or by proxy. Applications are taken from all over the world. If a foreigner is offered a job, necessary documents will be made available to him in his country of residence from the diplomatic mission of the employer’s country to process his entry permit into the foreign country.

ACCESSING A WORK VISA

From previous discussions, we have already established that entry permits are not a one size fits all.  Visa regulations vary from diplomatic mission to diplomatic mission, some may share one or two similarities in content and/or procedure. But to each diplomatic mission, compliance has to be absolute as assessment is strict.

For better understanding, I will discuss the intricacies of a work visa using the United Kingdom (UK) migrate work visa as case study. (Before I continue, if you are registered nurse, teachers specifically mathematics, chemistry, physics teacher or you know anyone who is and desirous of migrating for work purposes, you and/or yours may be closer to you dream than you think. All you need do is read on).

The UK has five main migrate route categorised in a point based system available to migrants from outside European Economic Area (EEA) who want to migrate to the UK to study, work, invest or train. The five routes are

  • Tier 1

This route is for applicants termed high – value applicants. They include investors, entrepreneurs and exceptional talents.

  • Tier 2

This route is for skilled workers with job offers in the UK.  (Our discussions will be on this category)

  • Tier 3

Route designed for low-skilled workers

  • Tier 4

Migrant route for prospective students over the age of 16

  • Tier 5

This route has 6 sub-tier made up of temporal work offers. This visa is awarded to youths from countries where UK has a reciprocal arrangement with. As such, UK youths also benefit from similar schemes from those countries.

Of the above routes, Tier 2 is the main UK migration route for skilled workers (including religious workers) migrating to the UK to take up employment; it’s a lot similar in content (not procedure/processing) with the Canada express skilled workers scheme.

Tier 2 is categorised into two:

The Tier 2 (general) Visa, for fresh employees, and

Tier 2 (inter-company transfer) for employees of multinational company who are being transferred to their UK business branch.

The Tier 2 (general) Visa

Key parties in this application are the UK-based employer, the foreign employee and the UK High Commission. Procedure is initiated with a contract of employment after the usual employer and employee protocols are observed. But for legitimacy, a UK based employer must have a valid sponsorship licence and it is also required that such jobs must be advertised to members of EEA before they can be offered to non-EEA immigrants, except the job type is listed in the Tier 2 shortage occupation list.

HOW TIER 2 WORKS

The UK government releases set of skills available to foreign employee in a Tier 2 occupation list and Tier 2 shortage occupation list.

An applicant who intends to reside and work in the UK via tier 2 visa must comply with the following pre-application requirements. Thus a tier 2 visa applicant must:

  • Have a job offer from a UK based employer (remember employment must be from an employer with a valid Tier 2 certificate of sponsorship licence);
  • Have a job offer that meets estimated minimum wage not less than £20,800 (there are few exceptions though);
  • Have a tier 2 certificate of sponsorship;
  • Confirm Job being offered is listed in the Tier 2 occupation list/shortage occupation list;
  • Meet English requirement test; a qualification equivalent to a Bachelors degree or higher, taught in English or English language test result; (eg TOEFL, IELTS, PEARSON etc)
  • Meet maintenance fund requirement (£945 held for 90 days in applicant’s account) and;
  • Must have a clear TB test result letter.

Whenever you learn that any application is point based (as Tier 2 is), it simply means that assessment is mathematical. An applicant earns points for each of the requirement listed above that he meets. For Tier 2, an applicant must meet up to 70 point on their Tier 2 point result. A point base application is strict, a half point short of the minimum required and an application is thrown out. It is also a somewhat predictable application for professionals who know their onions. An applicant or his handler must be pedantic while packaging a Tier 2 visa application. Also, because it is a point based application, an erroneously refused visa where applicant meets minimum point is reviewable. That is to say, an applicant can apply for administrative review of his denied tier 2 visa application, if the applicant is convinced that his visa ought to have been granted. If indeed the applicant met minimum point, on review, visa will be granted. A holder of a Tier 2 visa is allowed to migrate to the UK with his dependants (i.e spouse and children (minor) only) if applicant is able to comply with financial requirements.

On this note, I recommend any prospective or intending work migrant to visit this site https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-k-shortage-occupation-list(Nurses and Secondary school Mathematic, Chemistry and Physics teachers, I already got you covered. Your skill set is on the list. So for nurses and mathematics, chemistry and physics teachers that is one step check off the requirements).

Dear Nigerian BSC. Nurses, my firm, in collaboration with other firms in the UK, is working out how to get job placements for Nigerian nurses. While we sort that out, we advise qualified nurses interested in migrating to the UK for work purpose, to visit and register on this website https://ireg.nmc-uk.org and forward your credentials to us. You will need to take some tests with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK).  Need any guidance during the process? Don’t worry. Just send us us an email at attorneychika@yahoo.com. Also 16,000 Nurses are needed in Australia. We will provide you with details in subsequent posts.

That is all we have for this session of Travel Smart Series. Thank you  for sparing us you precious time and data, to read, comment and share. Thank you for your emails. The comment session is open to you for questions, further or better clarification and inquiries. Till next time, keep smart and remember, sharing is caring.

 

Chika Okoroafor