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Catriona Laing, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, explained why there is a spike in the number of visa applications from Nigerians seeking to enter the United Kingdom recently.
Laing stated this on Sunday in Abuja when he appeared on the News agency of Nigeria Forum.
She acknowledged that the UK government took note of the situation and was in contact with the Nigerian government to avoid brain-drain in Nigeria, especially in the health sector.
She said, “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.
“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 it’s people coming to study, or people coming to work.
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“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.
“So it is now easier for Nigerians, students to remain after their studies, they can stay for, 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.
“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.
“So the health sector is an example where there is a lot of Nigerian medics, both nurses and doctors in the National Health Service,” Laing said.