Nigerian study abroad market faces delayed visa processing

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Nigerian study market faces delayed visa processing

According to a UNESCO report, Nigeria is the largest market for study abroad aspirants with 70,000 – 80,000 students moving out every year. In fact, it was revealed in a report that 90% of Nigerian students want to study abroad. It is not just because of the education quality but also the opportunities the Nigerian students find abroad.

As reported by ICEF Monitor, the agents involved in foreign education in Nigeria are continuously reporting very strong demand from Nigerian students and families for the upcoming academic year. There has been an impressive outbound number of students enrolled this year.

But such a huge demand has also led to long waits in visa processing, causing backlogs for major study destinations like the  UK, US, Canada, Australia etc. In addition, there is a shortage of forex for everyone, including students, as the central bank is the only source of foreign exchange in the country.

According to Obianuju Akpo-Edewor, general manager of the Lagos-based agency Michael Ralph Consult, parents of the students pursuing foreign education are willing to pay the fee but the delay in visa, in addition to the forex shortage, is making them rethink their decision.

The UK is already managing “easier visa processing” as compared to other popular study destinations like the US and Canada. Still, fee payment remains to be a struggle in absence of forex. Long queues at the bank are common and have also been reported by various local media sources.

The reason behind the shortage in forex is said to be the Central Bank of Nigeria being the only source of foreign exchange in the country. A steady decline in the Nigerian Naira against the US dollar and a surge in inflation have also contributed to the shortage, which has forced many parents to move to the black market.

According to the African Liberty publication, the foreign currency of Nigeria works like reserve in the country. The constant weakening of the Naira is affecting the entire process of the study abroad market in Nigeria.

One of the reasons that the Naira is falling is due to the volatility and uncertainty of crude oil prices, which are major revenue generators for the country. In addition, the West African country is also dealing with high government indebtedness.

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