Migration has always been a common feature in human existence. For those who believe in organised religion, the holy books have it on record that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had to move from their birthplaces at some point. The history of ancient civilizations also features a lot of migration stories: entire countries came to being simply because a set of people decided to move from their comfort zone and find new settlements.
People make the decision to migrate for a myriad of reasons. Some do it to escape economic hardship and seek out a better quality of life for themselves, others choose to “japa” so they can escape political persecution (especially in countries where human rights are constantly violated), and there are those who simply want to experience life elsewhere and decide to embark on a new adventure.
Nigeria Has Been Heavily Hit By The “Japa” Wave
In the past few years, many Nigerians have made the bold decision to leave their home country and start new lives in an entirely different continent. Every other day, social media is replete with photos of Nigerians at the arrival lounges of airports in other countries. Enthusiastically, they upload photos of themselves dressed in winter jackets, clutching one or two travel bags, complete with the caption “New Dispensation.”
People are choosing to “japa” these days because of the grim socioeconomic conditions that are currently bedevilling Nigeria. The value of the Naira continues to plummet, unemployment is at an all-time high, power supply keeps fluctuating, companies are folding up as the business terrain becomes untenable, and the entire country is plagued by insecurity.
A good number of Nigerians, especially those within the 21-50 age bracket, try to leave the country via several pathways, legal or otherwise. Some people successfully apply to jobs abroad that sponsor their visas, while others depart Nigeria via the education route. In August, September, December and January of every year, visa processing centres have their hands full as young Nigerians seek to take their respective leaps of faith, hoping to find a lot more than Nigeria currently has to offer.
However, it’s not always sweetness and light for those who choose to migrate. The grass usually looks greener, but people fail to notice the thorns in between. Young Nigerians have shared sad stories of how they sold all their property, based on false promises of a job abroad, only to find that they had been conned. Some have had to make public appeals on social media to help raise the balance for their tuition, realizing that their admission could be at risk. In recent weeks, photos have also surfaced of Nigerians sleeping at public libraries, airports and train stations, owing to a lack of sufficient accommodation
Five Things To Know Before Moving Abroad
It’s hard enough to migrate, as there’s a lot of financial and emotional investment involved, but it’s a lot more difficult when it’s done without adequate preparation. Few things are worse than being stranded in a new country, with nowhere and no one to turn to. To avoid such a dire situation, here are five things to consider before you japa:
- Understand Visa Requirements: Most countries require specific visas to live, work and/or study there. In selecting your destination country, it would be helpful to log on to that country’s immigration website, read through the visa requirements, determine whether you are eligible, and work towards putting things in place if you are not.
- Figure Out Expenses: If you are looking to study abroad, it’s important to research on the school you’re applying to. You need to find out the cost of tuition fees, as well as the cost of living in the city where the institution is located. That way, you get to know whether you have to apply for a scholarship to aid funding, or apply to another college altogether. This is to avoid a situation where you struggle with payments and ultimately have your admission withdrawn.
- Create A Budget: Before moving abroad, you need to have some savings stashed away: it is dangerous to travel without any sort of financial backup, especially when you consider exchange rates. It could also take longer than expected to get a job, so you need some money to hold on to until you land your first gig. The cost of living varies with each city, so you may want to move to a smaller town until you can afford to live in the more urbanized areas.
- Know what to travel with: Many people make the big mistake of entering a new country with items that they do not need, and that they may end up having to throw away. To avoid this, make enquiries: ask your friends who live there, or consult the internet for answers via Google, Twitter or Quora. If you are not open to trying out the cuisines of the new country, go with as many local food items as you can. Endeavour to buy the kind of clothes that would serve you as you battle with a
different weather from what you are used to.
- Learn About health Guidelines: For some countries, you would have to present a number of medical certificates during the visa application process, such as COVID 19 test results and tuberculosis clearance certificates. Carefully search out the requirements that each country demands, so that you save time and money in trying to secure your visa.
How Paga Aids You As You Navigate Your “Japa” Process
Paga, Nigeria’s leading payment solutions provider, allows users to transfer money electronically and make payments through their mobile devices. It acts as a mobile wallet, with which anyone who has an internet-enabled phone can conduct financial transactions.
Paga allows you to purchase prepaid airtime, and pay for subscription services as well as internet bundles. You can sort out your internet subscription with Paga’s smooth bill payment service.
Opening a Paga account is pretty easy. To get started, click here to download.