Home >> INTERNATIONAL >> How Nigerians in Diaspora Make it in the US
How Nigerians in Diaspora Make it in the US

Almost 400,000 Nigerian immigrants and their descendants are currently residing in the United States, according to June 2015 data released by the Migration Policy Institute for the Rockefeller Foundation-Aspen Institute Diaspora Program.

Nigeria is the largest source of African immigration to the US — and you too are adamant about leaving Nigeria? Nigerians face in America and some pieces of advice to consider before going
From the hustling and bustling in one’s own country to the struggles to surely make ends meet, Nigerians, whether home or abroad, will always strive to be at the top of their game. One might be tempted to ask what the efforts are for if not for the money. Many have tried, others are still trying so hard to grab this money no matter how small, at least on a regular basis. Yet, the skilled and qualified graduates have no jobs, those who have a job work too much for an employer for a less pay.

It is on this note that some Nigerians begin to crave to travel abroad. A handful of these people have continually nursed this desire for years while others may have succeeded in crossing the border into their dream foreign land. The most revered countries of choice are the United Kingdom and America. The major focus of this piece is on the choice of the US as a place of residence, the major problems Nigerians face, the mistakes many make and the steps many others have applied in making it big in the US.

The major problem Nigerians face in the US
The ideal thing to do is to first ask why you have to leave the shores of Nigeria. If you must leave, take note of the fact that the first problem people fall into is illegally residing in the US. Overstaying beyond the visa duration for non-immigrants is the beginning of a bone of contention. Some people will say that all they need is just to step their feet on the soil of America, then leave the rest for them. Many have lived in foreign countries for years without resident permit or green card, not to talk of getting social security or work permit.

Some of these guys just leave Nigeria (not that they have any means of survival already set out) with the hope that they can make it no matter what. Others rely on friends. Get the facts straight: one day, the friend you’re squatting with will remind you: “Olboy, you have to pay bills o… this is US”. It will dawn on you that if you did not get into the US with visa lottery (which is no longer applicable for Nigeria) or that there is no one to file for you to enable you to get legal residency, living in the US will not be bed of roses.

You must always have it in mind that friendship has no survival value but is one of those things that give value to survival at any point you find yourself. Just like one of the greatest philosophers of all time, Aristotle, would say, the ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival. At this point, the thoughtful ones now go extra miles to look for ways to legalise their stay.

Then the challenge of legalizing stay comes up.
This is where some Nigerians are tempted to marry the ones they never envisaged would be their life partners, just for the papers. Some make it a contractual one, while others marry for real, have babies and perhaps dump their partners for their “dream” ones when all legal documents become ready. Others join the military and get automatic legal residency.

The mistake some legal Nigerian residents make
Contrary to the aforementioned backdrop, the first mistake some Nigerians who are legally residing in the US make is, once they grab a job, which they rely on to take care of some primary bills and being able to send some dollars back to Nigeria, they do not remember that there should be the need to upgrade in their academic background to meet the standards in the US.
There are some jobs that no matter how hard you work, with normal schedule plus overtime shift, it may still not be enough. But a degree in the US goes a long way to do you great. An upgrade in education is an upgrade in your income. Although what you study matters.

What to consider before resolving to live in the US
However, before you resolve leave for the US, take note that you cannot afford to be idle. There are things you need to put into consideration. No matter what your educational level is in Nigeria, you must upgrade. You will have to think of a field that would be lucrative for you in the long-run.
Also, to make extra cash, you might have to acquire some skills like tailoring, electrical or computer repair, making of hair and the likes before leaving Nigeria. Women buy two packs of Daniella weavon for $50 and fix it for 80 to 100 dollars at least and depending on the area. These are the little skills taken for granted in Nigeria.

If you want to make it in the US, take note of these ventures
The first step is legalizing your residency. By this, you can do things legally within the country. Otherwise, no one would employ you except a close relation. Even if you are employed, without work permit, it would definitely be a cheap labour or what is called more work less pay.
Still emphasizing on educational upgrade, you can be working and schooling at the same time. If you cannot meet up with full-time programme, do a part-time. Some of the areas Nigerians venture into for jobs are health and ICT.
Especially the health sector, a lot of Nigerians have become registered nurses (RN), license practical nurses (LPN), direct care assistant (DCA), etc. Apart from the healthcare sector, others have also chosen to become correctional officers at various jail facilities, while some make do with taxi services.

Nevertheless, even if the income keeps getting into your account, don’t get carried away by the dollar, try as much as possible to live below your income. You work as a DCA, you must not acquire a thing simply because your friend who is an RN did. Your incomes are different.
In addition to all of these, you cannot afford to violate the laws of America. As far as you pay your bills, you are safe. As far as you do not break traffic rules, no ticket for you. There are so many laws, so try as much as possible to keep up.

Also, if you are the type that is business conscious, you may have to also delve into this money-making venture to augment your regular income. Buying household items at very low prices especially in bulk and shipping down home to someone you can entrust them with will fetch you some more cash.
Choosing the right city to live for the purpose of saving cost

A recent research showed that there are some professions one can go into in various cities. Which means that, no matter how high their pay may be, some professionals hardly save from the income they earn. For instance, the findings have shown that a registered nurse who earns $71,910 yearly, or $34.57 per hour, may not be able to live in Dallas below income not to talk of saving any dime for him or herself. A microbiologist or a market research analyst who earns $68,290 yearly, or $74,010 per hour, may not live below income and save on a large scale in a city like Boston.

By and large, if your dream cities are also Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu, there are jobs that cannot give you the room to save given the high cost of living in these cities. A choice of city matters.

Thus, on a general note, the admonition from my discovery here is that if you are in the US and decide to keep one job and expect to send money home for much better investments, you are not only planning to fail but also planning to continually enrich the US economy and go back home with zilch.

the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top