Canadian immigration officials are working with their US counterparts in Nigeria to reduce the number of migrants traveling to Canada illegally.
Nigerian asylum seekers have been crossing into Canada at its southern border which it shares with the US and it seems the numbers keep increasing.
It was revealed that many were in the US and had American visas before migrating to Canada.
In 2017 only, more than 20,500 migrants crossed illegally into Canada at the US border to seek asylum – about 40% of total claims.
In the first three months of this year, over half the 5,052 asylum claims by those who crossed the border were Nigerian nationals, and most had valid US visas.
The Federal Transportation Minister of Canada, Marc Garneau said on Monday that about 90% of all “irregular” border crossers do not meet the criteria for refugee status and will eventually be deported.
Migrants who avoid the official checkpoint at the borders usually make use of the Safe Third Country Agreement, an agreement between the US and Canada that forces people to claim asylum in their first country of arrival.
The policy is meant to better manage refugee claims and to avoid “asylum shopping” between countries, but it’s also among the reasons asylum seekers are avoiding official border points.
Three Canadian immigration officials are now in Lagos working with American officials to combat the problem.
Canada says it has already seen an increase in US travel visa denials for Nigerians citizens it believes want the document solely for the purpose of coming to Canada.