Work visas: 10 countries with positive outlook for Nigerians in 2024
Over the year, there have been around 10 work visa policies with a positive outlook for foreign talent ahead of 2024.
About work visas for foreign skilled talent
In today’s globalised economy, work visas are pivotal for cross-border talent mobility, typically requiring employer sponsorship.
This process involves initiating and supporting visa applications, providing job offers, filing necessary paperwork, and fulfilling legal obligations for foreign workers to work in a different country legally.
Work visa sponsorship offers several advantages which include access to global talent, filling skill gaps, enhancing diversity and cultural exchange, and retaining valuable foreign employees.
This article will highlight the immigration policies of some countries which Nairametrics captured in 2023, and the outlook for 2024 for the Nigerians seeking immigration opportunities for work.
On the other hand, it will also look into countries clamping down on work visas and migration in general. It is worth checking the official immigration sites of these countries for more comprehensive information.
- Germany announced that it has 21 pathways to work, live or study in the country
- Job shortages are in the following sectors: Agriculture, Construction, and Transportation
- Germany has also simplified the process for skilled workers to obtain the Blue Card visa, notably by allowing foreign workers to get a job at a lower salary threshold.
- Holders of the Blue Card visa also benefit from an accelerated path to permanent residency, becoming eligible as early as 21 months after relocating to Germany.
- Finland announced that it plans to increase work-based migration to 30,000 individuals annually, as the country has been actively encouraging international workers to address the growing labour crisis through its initiatives.
- Some of the initiatives include the ‘Work in Finland’ and ‘Talent Boost’ programs and it has also positioned itself as a hub of opportunities for researchers, and innovators
- Finland is actively seeking skilled professionals globally as a result of the rising worker shortage affecting vital sectors like healthcare, personal care, social work, daycare teaching, and construction.
- Nairametrics learns that from next year, New Zealand will expand its Green List to include a wide range of professions in construction, information technology, automotive, and engineering which would enable them to utilize the Green List visas when seeking specialized talent not readily found among the local workforce.
- Other changes also involve elevating the Recognised Seasonal Employer quota to 19,500 for the upcoming 2023/24 season.
- NZ also introduced a new visa program for eligible care workers providing an opportunity for permanent residence, work, and study in New Zealand including partners and dependent children under 24 in the application.
- Victoria Province in Australia opened applications for two visa pathways that allow you to work, study, and live permanently in Australia without a job offer through the Visa 190 or Visa 491 routes.
- These visas do not require a job offer, and you can become an Australian citizen if eligible. However, the selection is based on various factors including an IELTS test.
- Italy announced it is allocating 136,000 work visas for non-EU workers by 2024 which may present opportunities to foreigners in these occupations who aspire to live and work in Italy.
- These workers are to fill roles across 10 in-demand professions nationwide.
- The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) in Canada broadened opportunities for immigrants in Saskatchewan.
- This expansion includes 279 additional occupations, ranging from farm labourers to truck drivers, retail sales, nurse aides, and equipment operators.
- Canada also announced that employers in seven selected sectors (Food Manufacturing, Wood Product Manufacturing, Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing, Accommodation and Food Services, Construction, Hospitals, and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities) may continue to hire up to 30% of their workforce in low-wage positions through the TFWP.
- Earlier, Canada announced a new policy to facilitate the approval of family reunification for study applicants.
- Singapore currently needs 260,000 professionals across Technology, Banking, and Engineering.
- Singapore is actively addressing the repercussions of the pandemic-induced departure of foreign workers by countering it with a surge of 260,000 new hires, compensating for the loss of 194,000 foreign workers during the pandemic.
- The booming tech industry is a driving force behind its economic growth, and the rapid expansion of technology hubs has resulted in this workforce gap.
- Netherlands has 442,000 job openings with about 35,000 positions in the public sector
- The thriving sectors are Agriculture and food, Creative Industries, Chemicals, Energy, IT, Health and life sciences, Logistics and Services, and hospitality.
- The in-demand occupations are: Engineers, technical professionals, IT specialists, finance experts, and individuals in sales, marketing, and customer service are in-demand occupations
- Tax advantages are available for eligible international employees
- Cyprus has introduced its Golden Knowledge Programme for foreign nationals in the ‘research and innovation’ sector to apply for expedited citizenship through a fast-track process.
- Applicants are therefore required to have a physical presence in Cyprus, establishing genuine connections with the island.
- Croatia is currently grappling with labour shortages, particularly in industries such as construction and building trades, automotive, culinary arts, and food production, as well as information technology and software development.
- According to data released by the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), the number of published job vacancies is 16,832.
- The conversion of Oman visitor or tourist visas into work visas has been suspended.
- This alteration in immigration regulations became effective on October 31st.
- Saudi Arabia has implemented more stringent visa regulations for hiring domestic workers from overseas by introducing an official digital platform.
- One of the restrictions the government places on the platform is that employers seeking a visa must be 24 years old or older.
- The UK government stated that effective from spring 2024, skilled worker visa applicants must earn £38,700 ($48,900), up from the current £26,200 ($33,000) to obtain a work visa.
- This stringent immigration reform aims to significantly reduce annual immigration numbers by hundreds of thousands.
- This was facilitated by the Home Secretary James Cleverly who asserted the need for “robust action” to curb authorized immigration, which reached a record high of nearly 750,000 in 2022.
- Earlier, the country increased student visa application fees by 285%
- The UK was among the countries that opted to discontinue its Golden Visa program
- The United Kingdom (UK) government announced restrictions that will most likely stop Nigerian students and other nationalities studying in the country from bringing their families over.
- Sweden implemented a significant increase in the required salary threshold for work permit holders, affecting both first-time applicants, and those seeking permit renewals, including those with pending applications. This applies to non-EU workers
- Commencing from November 1st, the minimum monthly salary for work permit holders was increased from 13,000 kronor to 27,360 kronor which is 80 per cent of Sweden’s median
- The goal of this change is to decrease per cent of labour immigration and address issues related to fraud and misuse connected to labour immigration.
Analysis of countries with a positive outlook for work permits
Amongst the countries discussed, Germany, Singapore, New Zealand, and other countries appear to have a positive outlook.
These countries extended work permits to foreign nationals through extended pathways, in-demand occupations due to labour shortages, and relaxed immigration rules.
Other countries which initiated programs to attract foreign workers include Finland, Croatia, and Cyprus.
Finland introduced its ‘Work in Finland’ and ‘Talent Boost’ programs. Similarly, Cyprus introduced a new pathway called the Golden Knowledge Programme for foreign nationals in the ‘research and innovation’ sector.
Countries seeking to reduce migration
Conversely, countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Oman are actively seeking to curb immigration levels.
Immigration in the United Kingdom reached a record high of nearly 750,000 in 2022 which is why the country has placed a limit on care workers and other health workers and has introduced measures such as higher salary threshold and restriction on bringing dependents.
In the Middle East, countries such as Oman which used to allow the conversion of visitor visas to work visas are no longer doing so.