Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Despite many of the negative stories one reads in newspapers, online or sees on television, Nigerians are in high demand. From the UK which spends money to bring aspiring students, to Canada which sets aside scholarship money just for Nigerians, and the US military which seeks out native Igbo speakers, Nigerians are a hot commodity. But, the temperature has now risen through the roof with the announcement that the US Congress might give work visas to foreign entrepreneurs who can come to America, set up a business and live in the land of opportunity.

The US government will issue a work visa to any Nigerian, and other foreign nationals, who opens a business in the US. He or she must, however, raise at least US $250,000 (approximately N30 million) via qualified US investors. Once the business has been created, it has 2 years to create a minimum of five new jobs, raise at least $1 million or generate at least $1 million in revenue. If even just one of those goals is achieved, the business owner will get a green card. If the entrepreneur fails to achieve at least one of the stated goals, he or she will be asked to leave.

Of course, it is not easy to raise capital in the current global economic climate. Nevertheless, this appears to be a wonderful opportunity for innovative and resourceful individuals to take advantage of the US economy and make a better life for themselves and their family members.

There is no doubt that this program will take away Nigerian talent to the detriment of the nation. Nigeria needs all the skilled workers it has to develop the country. One need only consider the flight of nurses from Nigeria to Europe and America where they are highly prized to see the detrimental effects of losing skilled workers in a developing country. Unless something changes, Nigeria will eventually be forced to import the skill sets it needs to face future realities.

However, critics of this program have to be realistic. Entrepreneurs in Nigeria face an uphill battle. From a lack of adequate infrastructure such as consistent electricity supply and good roads and a transportation system, being an entrepreneur is not easy. Additionally, local businesses do not get loans from banks thus limiting the start up money available to business owners. And then along comes the United States government practically begging Nigerians to come and work and live there. Without a doubt, those that will will surely take the risk of failing to have the opportunities America presents.

And, despite the obvious disadvantages, those Nigerians who succeed in the United States will be able to send home remittances which will help their loved ones. Nigeria already benefits from $10 billion in remittances. More importantly, those remittances will contribute to the national economy in a way that benefits the larger public.

America is thinking outside the box so as to tackle its economic problems and boost its economy. Nobody can fault it for that. Nigeria needs to be even more aggressive in finding new ways to address its challenges and hold on to the talent it has because if not, things will only get worse.

From the Archives:
- Prostitution, Politicians & Abuja, Nigeria
- Canada Luring Nigerian Students
- Nigerian Students Spend N246 BN In UK
- 23mn Of Nigeria's Youth Are Unemployable 
- Nigeria's 10MN Child Beggars 
- Speak Igbo? The US Army Wants You!

8 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

olaoluwatomi said...

The money for capital is on the steep side though! Great idea otherwise!

'Lara said...

The capital is pretty much on the high side, but sure some people would be able to afford it.

Anonymous said...

Oh my days, this is classic brain drain right before our eyes and its happening in my life time. Anyways best of luck to those who grab the opportunity because I dont believe any body should stop another person from 'shinning' it could be in your country or another country it dun matter really. But why can't the Nigerian govt offer something competitive saying we will start a similar scheme just to hold on to you guys and your ability. the govt thinks this is a small thing let people leave the country like that it shoudl have been declared a crisis right from the seventies when it stared. But since they are not paying any attention to it then guess what it will continue period.

Beauty said...

"this is classic brain drain right before our eyes", its such a shame but in Abuja where In the full glare of students of City Royal Secondary School Abuja who had come to witness parliamentary proceedings at the House of Representatives yesterday, supporters of the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole brutalised and forcefully ejected members who had demanded that the leadership be investigated for misappropriation. people still behave like animals. Who wan stay get dirty like dem? They are just animals, let them be. Those that can go, let them go get a life. The future is theirs.

Onose said...

if some people can easily afford 250,000 then arent they living better in naija than if they came here to start working menial jobs?

webround said...

Is this the same as the EB-5 (or the new EB-6 which is being proposed) visa? If it is, I've read several reports that there is a backlog of those who are qualified for green card status under the EB-5 visa but have not received their permanent residencies. An article I read says in reality it is not as simple as establishing a company and creating the specified number of jobs. Not sure how the proposed EB-6 will work..

Sending remittance home is not enough. It simply reinforces us as a consuming and not a producing country. What is needed is for rich Nigerians to create startup funds to fund startups in Nigeria just as is being done here in the US. That is how the likes of Google, facebook, etc got their boost

Anonymous said...

Think its just a modern day nicely put slavery, simple. Nigerians are desperate pple yet hard working and will jump at an opportunity like dis without even thinking and they knw it. so wat better way to boost their own economy n create employment? get nigerians/africans....

Anthonia Kehinde said...

Its a shame that the same entrepreneurial spirit isn't actively encouraged in Nigeria.

$250,000 is only a limited number of people can entertain the offer.

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