News

March 26, 2024

3 countries with friendly visa schemes to consider for Japa 

Japa: Culture shock, diversity, other issues Nigerians must understand before relocating to US, UK, Canada 

By Biodun Busari

As some countries in Europe and North America have implemented strict visa schemes to cut migration, there are still some visa-friendly nations to which Nigerians and other immigrants can migrate.

Some countries have offerred diverse friendly visa and immigration programmes for Nigerians, and other nationals, to move to for education, work, or residency as well as tourism.

In this article, three countries that can be considered for relocation without tough visa rules are Germany, New Zealand, and Finland.

1. GERMANY

Germany is the third largest economy in the world after the United States and China, making it the largest economy in Europe, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of €4,121 billion in 2023.

The country has new law, and existing mechanisms for skilled workers with a university degree, such as the EU Blue Card, will continue and in some cases be extended. In addition, a new opportunity card (Chancenkarte) will enable third-country nationals to seek employment.

In Germany, there are several opportunities for immigrants in the labour market: The possibility of obtaining an EU Blue Card will be opened to a wider group of people. For example, foreigners from Nigerians and other countries who have graduated from university within the last three years can obtain an EU Blue Card if their job in Germany earns them a minimum salary of 45.3% of the annual assessment ceiling for pension insurance (in 2024: €41,041.80). 

In June 2023, the German parliament approved immigration reforms crafted to attract skilled workers to the country, which is suffering from an unprecedented labour shortage.

The reforms will increase the number of non-EU workers in Germany by 60,000 per year, as the country is hoping to tackle its shortage of skilled workers with a new ‘opportunity card’ called chancenkarte. The ‘chancenkarte’ will use a points system to enable workers with the required skills to come to Germany more easily.

As part of the packages for immigrants, firstly, applicants will now be entitled to a residence permit if all requirements are met, and secondly, the restriction that individuals may only work based on the skills acquired with the professional qualification has been removed. 

In other words, if applicants have a vocational qualification or a university degree, they are not restricted to jobs related to that qualification when looking for employment. 

2. NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is also another popular destination willing to accept immigrants into its economy, offering the same rights given to its citizens to permanent residents including the right to vote, to travel freely, to public education, and most importantly, to free healthcare.

Credible recent reports have revealed that many Britons choose to migrate to New Zealand for its high quality of life, enchanting natural landscapes, outdoor lifestyles, and a more relaxed pace of living.

New Zealand is located at the extreme point of the globe but has a high quality of life, with many job opportunities in cities like Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Hamilton, with an average wage of $97,300 (£50,970.12) per annum which nearly double the average UK salary of £25,971

Many different universities in the major cities of New Zealand are universally recognised, and this provides opportunities for Nigerians and other immigrants to apply for study visas.

Aside from study visas, New Zealand provides different work visas including the skilled migrant category, which enables people with skills and qualifications to fill jobs. It involves a points-based system, in which the applicant must score at least 160 points to be eligible.

New Zealand has a strong and booming economy which creates job opportunities for immigrants and offers a high standard of living across various sectors like agriculture, technology, healthcare, education, and tourism among others.

The country has a wide range of visa schemes such as Accredited Employer Work Visa, Entertainers Work Visa, Long Term Skill Shortage List Visa, Specific Purpose Work Visa, Post Study Work Visa, and others.

3. FINLAND

Finland is a highly developed country with a stable economy, advanced technology, and a high standard of living. It also boasts excellent educational and professional opportunities for Nigerians and other immigrants across the globe.

The Nordic country falls under Schengen which does not have tough visa rules for immigrants including Nigerians. The Finnish government has put in place certain regulations and processes that are designed to make the process straightforward. 

Immigrants can relocate to Finland if they apply for a work visa, after submitting a job offer from a Finnish employer. 

There are a number of migration programmes with conditions and requirements that must be met before relocating to Finland, some of which are the Family Reunification Programme – which allows family members to join their relatives in Finland. Family reunification can be applied for by the family member in Finland, or by the family member in other countries. 

The application must include a copy of the family member’s passport, proof of their relationship, and proof of the family member’s income and financial situation. 

Finland also has work visa which is designed for an eligible applicant who has a job offer from a Finnish employer and a valid work permit; and Permanent Residency which gives Nigerians and other nationals considering migration to live and work in Finland indefinitely.

And of course, there is a Student Visa that allows students from Nigeria to study in Finland. To be eligible for a student visa, you must be accepted into a university programme in Finland and have proof of adequate financial means to cover your expenses. 

While these three popular destinations do not have tough immigration or visa schemes, it is pertinent for applicants considering relocation to meet the requirements needed to be granted the visa.