NewsChallenges Faced by Nigerians in Europe

Challenges Faced by Nigerians in Europe

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Challenges Faced by Nigerians in Europe

For decades Nigerian migrants have arrived in Europe through different channels and for various reasons that have ranged from obtaining legal protection to seeking livelihood opportunities. The unique data collection exercise carried out by the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) sought to explore the diversity of such flows by interviewing migrants at different stages of their migration journeys to help policymakers design human-centric and evidence-based solutions. The results of this study indicate that migrants’ needs differ at different stages of their journeys highlighting the necessity for the provision of context specific support to ensure that migrants receive timely and relevant assistance, as well as further research on the evolving migration flows to Europe.

Nigerians hoping to escape the increasing hardship in the country by seeking visas or irregular means to migrate to European countries will have a herculean task surviving in those countries because life is challenging in Europe now.

In recent years, especially in the last months, the deplorable conditions, occasioned a deteriorating economy has forced many Nigerians to embark on the ‘Japa’ syndrome which is the quest for disgruntled Nigerians fleeing the harsh realities at home and seeking greener pastures abroad. But Europe, which is one of the most important destinations for potential Nigerian emigrants, is a difficult place for Nigerians. Right now in some European countries, there are increasing restrictions against foreign migrants with little space and decreasing job opportunities for Nigerians as EU countries tighten the noose against foreigners.

The Government of Belgium sounded a warning to Nigerians seeking greener pastures into the country to think twice before they embark on such fruitless and sometimes perilous journeys because the decent jobs are scarce and survival in Europe without a decent job is really challenging. It is particularly a harrowing experience for young Nigerian women who are trafficked into Europe as they end up being forced into prostitution by gangs of criminals who manipulate these young women and exploit them for illicit gains.

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Mr. Freddy Roosemont, Director General, Office of Foreigners in Belgium, told a news conference in Abuja that right now there are no spaces for people to migrate to in his country, as lots of irregular migrants end up on the streets. He therefore emphasized that most dreams of a better life in Europe are not reality.


During the conference tagged “Safe Travelling Awareness for At-Risk Youth” he said, “First of all, it is important to inform the people correctly, because they often leave with a dream. If I say to the investor, you’re going to win the lottery next week and it’s going to bring you a million Euros and he believes me it will be a dream, is that dream realistic? Not at all. So, first of all, you have to take away the dream. The dream is not real. That’s why I’m telling you and I hope that through you, the public is aware that the dream is not real. It’s not easy to survive in Europe, without a decent job.”

“The second thing is of course, we have legal migration, but legal migration will not be for 10,000 or for 5,000 people. It will be for a number of people who have gone through a number of conditions. Somebody who wants to study in Belgium is very welcome. But he first has to show to the university that he will be capable of following the studies there in English, if he’s studying medicine that he has a sort of basics to study medicine. If he wants to become an engineer, that he has technical knowledge, that he is good in Mathematics and so on. So, it’s the university that is going to select who they let in, not only from Nigeria.”

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Nigerians were also warned that coming to Belgium with the intention to seek asylum would not also work, as there are low chances of obtaining a residence permit. Roosemont said further “so at that moment, we have to limit the reception of asylum seekers only to people who are vulnerable, and that means families, women with children. No man alone, not in that group.”

“So, for the moment there are lots of these asylum seekers living in Brussels on the street, and I can assure you the temperature in Brussels is not what it is here in Abuja. It got to minus seven, minus five. Now it’s around zero Celsius. So, it’s really not easy to survive in Brussels without assistance.”

Although Belgium is obliged by law to give that assistance it simply can’t do it because places are filled up. The Belgian said further that “secondly, we also see that a lot of people, especially girls are forced into prostitution in the big cities. If we find girls like that, we try to help them.”

The Belgium Justice Department also makes an effort to help girls who want to leave the profession to restore their humanity but the number of migrant prostitutes keeps increasing such that the Belgian authorities are reportedly alarmed and are now applying strident measures to curb the menace. Roosemont pleaded with the media to help educate the people. He said “notify the youth that the dream to go to Europe, to go to Belgium is not realistic and it’s very dangerous. So, that’s also the reason why we were here in Nigeria last week to try to inform the youth directly or indirectly.”

Understanding the challenges and related vulnerabilities migrants face en-route to Europe
could enhance targeted interventions to increase migrant protection.


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