March 25, 2024

Japa: 4 countries with tough immigration policies Nigerians should know about

Japa: 4 countries with tough rules for immigrants

Passengers attempting to board a Nigerian airliner

By Biodun Busari

As Nigerians and other nationals are engaging in a mass exodus to Europe and North America called ‘Japa’, some of these destination countries have implemented strict rules to cut down the influx of immigrants.

Some of these developed countries put tough rules already implemented or proposed for reasons including security concerns, economic pressures, or political landscapes, among others.

Below are four countries with recent strict rules for immigrants.


The United Kingdom which is a suitable destination for foreign health workers and caregivers has also introduced revisions to its immigration requirements.

James Cleverly, the UK Home Office Secretary announced on March 11, 2024, that health workers and caregivers are no longer permitted to bring their families with them.

He said the move was a direct solution to cut the influx of immigrants to the UK.

Earlier, the UK government had said that from Monday 1st January 2024, international students will no longer be able permitted to bring dependants with them on their UK student visa, aside from those on research postgraduate programmes.


Canada remains one of the best destinations for immigrants as its policies are friendly providing a soft landing in terms of quality education, job opportunities, housing and pension schemes.

Meanwhile, Canada has planned to put a cap on immigrants, and foreign students to reduce immigration.

Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced restrictions on different schemes including temporary foreign worker permits to start on May 1.

The Canadian government will decrease the number of temporary residents allowed into the country.

Also, Miller said there will be a ban on international students from bringing their spouses and children to Canada, as a result of housing shortages.

In the same vein, the Canadian government has changed the requirements for the post-graduation work program (PGWP) for international students which began on February 15, 2024. 

On its website, Canada, however, revealed that from September 1, 2024, foreign students enrolled in the curriculum licensing agreement scheme will no longer be eligible for PGWP. 


The Australian government, on 21st March, 2024, announced the introduction of a stricter visa programme for foreign students to check the influx of immigrants coming from other countries.

According to the Australian Home Affairs Minister, Claire O’Neil, the new visa rules will allow the government to suspend universities from recruiting foreign students if they break the rules.

Australia will start implementing tougher visa rules for international students this week as official data revealed migration hit another record high.

It was disclosed that the new visa rule starting on Saturday, has English language requirements for student and graduate visas to be increased, and is likely to further worsen an already tight rental market.

Australia at the time said rules would be tightened for students that could halve its migrant intake over two years.

The stricter rules come as official data revealed record-high migration, putting a strain on the housing market.


Saudi Arabia also introduced new stricter requirements for immigrants who want to relocate on the Special Talent Residency visa.

On January 22, 2024, the Saudi Premium Residency Center announced new expertise criteria for eligibility to obtain STR visas.

The center disclosed that immigrants applying for STR visas must demonstrate expertise in scientific research, health care, information technology, financial services, space and defence, renewable energy, mining, logistics and transport, tourism infrastructure, and food and agriculture.

While the Special Talent Residency was designed to attract qualified immigrants and draw investments, the modification only opened windows of opportunities to those who are experts in the required fields.