I have made two posts before now about how the UK is relatively the easiest developed country to access, especially via student visa. That fact remains.
However, if you have the option of studying in Canada or Australia, I’ll advise you take it over the UK. After studies, it’ll be easier and faster for you to transition to work visa, get a good (professional) job and even a permanent residency in Canada or Australia than in the UK (I don’t have enough time to elaborate on this — do your research if you have doubts).
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Talk about money? We know that most Nigerian immigrants tend to have a lot of dependants back home. Yet, gone are the days when one can—through just a menial job in the UK—save enough money to handle big projects like buying lands, building on them, and concurrently take care of a large family and one’s material and luxurious needs.
You’ll have to cut down on a lot of expenditures to be able to achieve something tangible, with the inflation, increase in tax rates (although there was a slight increase in minimum wage this year, as in every year), and the increase in electricity and water bills, in the UK.
Forget the stereotypical anecdotes about animals, and the lame excuse of proximity, if Australian visa is as easy as that of the UK (and say, Canada), Nigerians will have filled up that country, especially considering that majority of Nigerian immigrants are economic exiles whose migration, among other factors, is usually hinged on the hope to make a lot of money in foreign currency.
I have equally written about the fact that among developed countries in the West, the UK is the easiest to access at the moment, especially through study route and health sector work visa schemes. Once your paper work (which is relatively easy to collate) is in order, you’re almost guaranteed a visa.
I have also written about the often unforeseeable challenges and intricacies of post-study life for Nigerian student immigrants in the UK. I emphasised the need for proper planning for the future, considering that the UK labour market is not as large as those of Canada and Australia, especially for typical Nigerian immigrants who do not yet have work visa.
Now, the fact that it is relatively easy for prospective immigrant students to gain admission to most UK universities could count as one of the reasons why the journey to obtaining their student visa is less difficult compared to Germany, Australia and Canada. Yet, it could also be one of the factors that make post-study life for such demographic in the UK less attractive.
From what I’ve seen, most UK universities seem to be capitalists, mostly after your money. Just come and study.
And there is a sense in which the country’s immigration and education system enable and encourage a life of mediocrity among immigrant students. Unlike in the US, you are permitted to work 20 hrs during term time and full time during holidays, in the UK.
As a result, most students spend nearly 70% of their time doing menial jobs to make money for tuition fees and living expenses. That is valid hustle. But don’t fall for the pecks of the pound sterling, because you need to grow your professional life and stop doing menial jobs after studies. You don’t want to be a support worker all your life. Spending 70% of your student life doing care jobs and factory work won’t guarantee that future professional life after studies, because it’ll rob you of the time you needed to invest in making high grades and developing related skills.
Despite these challenges, there are three ways I’ll suggest for circumventing these things, for you to stand a chance of a better career life after studying in the UK.
One, for those who can afford them, while seeking admission to UK universities, go after universities that belong to the Russell Group. There are 24 universities on the list; UK employers tend to prioritise their graduates. If you can’t afford their tuition fees, seek their scholarships.
Two, if you can’t afford the cost and competition for universities in the Russell Group, and have not been able to obtain any of their scholarships, you may have to ensure that you study one of the courses in the UK shortage occupation list, to stand good chance of getting a reasonable offer after your studies.
Three, while studying any of those courses in a low-ranking UK university (since you can’t afford the high-ranking ones), try to make high grades and then attempt other stuff that’ll improve your skills, expertise, experience, and profile such as internships, volunteering, extra online courses, networking, conferences, trainings, and workshops. Don’t be a “just there” graduate.
This advice also extends to those doing a PhD in the UK. If you graduate with an outstanding profile, even if from a non-Russell university, you can apply and be granted a five-year global talent visa, with which you can work and do other stuff full time within and outside the UK. After 3 years of bearing that particular visa, you’ll be eligible to apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (Permanent Residence).
Finally, try to create good working relationship with those employers you do a part time work for, while studying. If it is in a health sector, there is a chance that when you graduate from your master’s programme and don’t find a better job immediately, they could employ you and help sponsor your work permit, which will count towards your stay (post-study work visa wouldn’t count towards your stay – it’s just a bridging visa).
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