The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has said the number of Nigerians applying for visas to the United Kingdom has increased in recent times. Laing made the disclosure on Sunday in Abuja when she featured at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum.
She noted, however, that the UK government was mindful of the situation and was in talks with the Nigerian government to avoid causing brain-drain, especially in the health sector.
The High Commissioner expressed her delight that the UK had become an attractive destination for Nigerians, especially students, adding that the UK was ready to welcome talents.
“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.
“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.