The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Catriona Laing, has said that the number of Nigerians applying for visas to the UK has increased in recent times.
Laing made the disclosure on Sunday in Abuja.
She did, however, mention that the UK government was aware of the situation and was in discussions with the Nigerian government to avoid brain drain, particularly in the health sector.
The high commissioner expressed her delight that the United Kingdom had become an appealing destination for Nigerians, particularly students, and stated that the United Kingdom was ready to welcome talents.
“You know, there are obviously people of Nigerian origin in the UK.
“So, people like to go where they have family or where they have friends.” Secondly, the English language obviously makes it a lot easier.
“Thirdly is the education, and people who have studied there will want to return.”
“And I think you know, we are a welcoming country and we want to welcome talents, whether it’s people coming to study, or people coming to work.
“So, a lot of Nigerians will be tuned to the UK, and we have actually seen a very big increase in requests for Nigerian student visas.” That is partly because we have changed our policy.
“So it is now easier for Nigerians and students to remain in Nigeria after their studies.”
“They can stay, I think, up to two years if you have done a master’s or a PhD, which will enable people to look for work after they have studied.”
“We have a labor shortage in the UK at the moment.” But we have to balance that because we do not also want to be responsible for a massive brain drain from Nigeria because you also need talented people.
“So the health sector is an example where there are a lot of Nigerian medics, both nurses and doctors, in the National Health Service,” Laing said.