Showing posts with label Migration Profile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Migration Profile. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nigeria Draws Regional Migrants but Loses High Skilled Labour, Migration Profile Finds

20 Jul 2010 14:39 Africa/Lagos

Country Draws Regional Migrants but Loses High Skilled Labour, Migration Profile Finds

ABUJA, July 20, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A migration profile of Nigeria released today by IOM finds that the country remains attractive to migrants from the sub-region although increasing numbers of skilled Nigerians emigrate in search of employment abroad.

According to the National Population Commission, the number of immigrants residing in Nigeria has more than doubled in recent decades - from 477,135 in 1991 to 971,450 in 2005. The Profile shows that the majority of immigrants in Nigeria (74%) are from neighbouring Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and that this number has increased considerably over the last decade, from 63 per cent in 2001 to 97 per cent in 2005.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, the Nigerian economy grew between 5.5 and 6.4 per cent each year from 2004 to 2007, with the oil sector the primary engine of growth and a magnet for high-skilled migrant workers. However, recent economic growth has also been linked to the informal labour sector, which traditionally attracts low-skilled national as well as international migrant labour.

Although the overall situation in Nigeria has somewhat improved in recent years, the country still has some way to go towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The country has the world's third highest number of people infected by HIV/Aids, after India and South Africa and scores low in the United Nations Development Programme's human development index ranking (125 out of 151).

In spite of Nigeria's importance as a destination for migrants in the region, the report however shows that more people are emigrating from, than immigrating to, Nigeria with the negative net migration rate (per 1,000 people) steadily increasing in recent years, from -0.2 in 2000 to -0.3 in 2005, and this trend is expected to continue. According to recent estimates, the net migration rate could reach -0.4 in 2010.

Estimates made by the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty (DRC), based on the 2000 Census Round, indicate that 1,041,284 Nigerian nationals live abroad, mostly in Sudan (24%), followed by the United States (14%) and the United Kingdom (9%). Many Nigerian emigrants also settle in neighbouring Cameroon (8%) and in Ghana (5%).

Although it is difficult to obtain empirical data on migrant skills, there appears to be a strong link between high skill level and migration. According to the latest estimates in 2000, 10.7 per cent of the highly skilled population who were trained in Nigeria worked abroad, mostly in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

According to the report, an average of 64 per cent of the Nigerian emigrant population have tertiary education; 14 per cent of all physicians trained in Nigeria work abroad, with 90 per cent of these working in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Regarding the flow of remittances to Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) notes a dramatic increase from USD 2.3 billion in 2004 to 17.9 billion in 2007, representing 6.7 per cent of GDP.

The United States accounts for the largest portion of official remittances, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain and France. On the African continent, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and South Africa are important source countries of remittance flows to Nigeria, while China is the biggest remittance-sending country in Asia.

The report also notes a marked increase in the number of Nigerians emigrating for educational purposes. From 2000 to 2006, the number of Nigerian students abroad more than doubled from 10,000 to 22,000, the majority of these (some 6,000) studying at universities in the United States.

Consequently, the overall number of tertiary educated persons has been declining, from 90,579 in 2002/2003 to 39,509 in 2005/2006.

One result of this is the lack of human capital to meet the demand for highly skilled workers in the labour market. The Ministry of Health reported that nearly 8 per cent of its 39,210 doctors and 2,773 dentists are foreign nationals.

Despite declining official unemployment rates (from 12% in 2005 to 9.9% in 2008), the overall labour supply continues to outstrip demand and this is likely to continue in the near future as Nigeria is one of the ten most populous countries in the world and has one of the fastest population growth rates (2.38% in 2008).

Based on this growth rate, the Nigerian population will double its currently estimated size of 146 million people, and unless the market is able to absorb the resulting surplus labour, unemployment is likely to increase and lead to still greater emigration.

A review of the data available for the Migration Profile of Nigeria reveals several challenges including: the need for a national migration data management strategy tracking both internal and external migration; inadequate funding for training and staffing of personnel to record and monitor migration trends and provide migration controls at exit and entry points; the absence of a centralized system and official body mandated to coordinate migration issues amongst government ministries.

Having said this, Nigeria is one of the few countries in West Africa to have developed a draft national policy on migration which is pending ratification by the National Assembly. The draft migration policy, amongst other objectives, seeks to establish a central migration authority within the government, and addresses the absence of Migration as a theme in Nigeria's main development plans, such as the National Economic Employment Development Strategy (NEEDS) and the state and local government counterparts (SEEDS and LEEDS).

In addition to supporting full implementation of the pending legislation, the report recommends: clearly establishing the role of the National Commission for Refugees, which will be responsible for coordinating migration management activities; focussing on internal as well as external migration issues given that this is a precursor for international migration, occurs on a relatively greater scale and is vital for understanding the level of development of the country; and government emphasis on the strategic importance of migration in development by giving its full support to formalizing and implementing the national policy on migration.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)

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