More Nigerians Seeking UK Visas, British High Commissioner Says

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It has become rife now for more Nigerians to be seeking United Kingdom (UK) visas, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Catriona Laing, said Sunday.

However, the envoy noted that the UK government was mindful of the situation and was in talks with the Federal Government to avoid brain-drain, especially in the health sector.

Mrs. Laing I as said to gave spoken in Abuja when she featured at a news forum.

Interestingly, the high commissioner expressed delight that the UK had become an attractive destination for Nigerians, especially students, adding that the UK was ready to welcome talents.

And she added that, “You know, there is 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.

It was clarified further that, “Thirdly is the education; and people who have studied they will want to return. And I think you know, we are a welcoming country and we want to welcome talents, whether people who are coming to study, or people coming to work.

He also said, “So, a lot of Nigerians will be tuned to the UK and we have seen actually a very big increase in requests for Nigerian student visas. That is partly because we have changed our policy.

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As he put it, “It is now easier for Nigerians, students to remain after their studies; they can stay I think up to two years if you have done a masters or a PhD, which will enable people to look for work after they have studied.

He stressed that, ”We have labour 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.

Thus as he said, “So, the health sector is an example where there is a lot of Nigerian medics; both nurses and doctors in the National Health Service.”

She further spoke of UK’s plan to support Nigerian government in preventing brain drain in the health sector.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) had earlier expressed concern with the recent trend of medical doctors leaving the country.

It was confirmed that the medical body said there may be a need to hire doctors from foreign countries in the future.

For the Home Office, Nigerians accounted for the highest increase in the number of dependants accompanying persons with study visas for the year ending in June.

The UK had said migrants from Nigeria may face restrictions following the country’s plans to cut net migration.

Mrs. Laing, while speaking on the issuance and downgrading of the recent travel advisory it issued on the security situation in Nigeria, said it was in line with the UK government’s security support to the country and Africa.

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According to her, the initial threat that led to the issue of the advice warning British Citizens on the security threat in Abuja have been managed and the advice reverted.

She stressed: “The FCT and Abuja has been green all the time, until we were made aware of the specific security in the Abuja, FCT area, and we have now reverted to green.

She added: “But the particular threat we have so far managed.”

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