Adaeze wrote about this topic some weeks back, and I left a lengthy comment on the topic. She mentioned how her brother in law was going to try to find his way to Canada because he felt that he could do better for himself outside of Nigeria (though from what I gather from Adaeze’s post, he was doing ok in Nigeria).
This is an issue that I suspect a lot of Nigerians who are living abroad as citizens or landed immigrants in another country have to face: you have family who want to join you abroad, or want to go abroad to another country, and they want you to help them, which is not a problem.
To me the problem comes when you tell your family members what they need to do and they refuse to do it because they think there is a faster way that disregards the rules and regulations of the country. They think you’re making their life unnecessarily difficult just for fun, by requesting they do this, that and the other thing. They want the quick fix, the easy way out, even though they know you got here the old fashioned (hard) way. (Please note I am speaking only from my family’s personal experience, and not saying that all Nigerians are like this.)
I take no credit for ending up in North America: my family ended up here due to my father’s educational pursuits. When relatives ask my father how they can come here, he tells them they can either come with the goal of studying, in that case they need to obtain enrollment in a school and if they pick a school in an area close to our family, then we can help out as much as we can by providing a roof over their heads and food. If they pick a school that is not in the same city or country as we are, our ability to help financially diminishes to somewhere near zero. This is not out of selfishness, but a simple fact that the money earned can only be divided a certain amount of ways. Alternatively, they can be sponsored, but in order to be sponsored, they need to prove to the government that they have something to bring to the country (a trade, skill or profession) that the country lacks and is recruiting for. With these tough economic times it’s easy to see that if your plan is to come here and find “any old job” once you arrive, you will have a hard time getting any country to welcome you with open arms.
These facts have been explained to curious family members again and again for over 20 years and they still don’t believe us. They think we’re deliberately trying to keep them from “enjoying” as we are apparently doing here. Like I’ve said before, we certainly have some perks here that we tend to take for granted after a while (decent roads, running water, constant electricity) but these things must be paid for. The lifestyle here is more stressful (how else do I explain the fact that both of my parents have more grey hairs than (in my mom’s case her mother and her two aunts, and in my dad’s case his two older siblings?). The family members pestering us the most are the ones who don’t have a plan. They seem to think that stepping foot on foreign soil automatically deposits thousands of dollars in their pockets. It’s frustrating.
In the years that we have been going back and forth with some family members, they could have done what they needed to have the educational requirements and be in a much better position to succeed with their application. Instead they continue to ask for the impossible, and try some questionable things, as if they think we have the authority of the Canadian border patrol officers or something.
We dealt with a situation in the recent past that will forever make us wary of getting involved with family members who claim they only want to visit yet do not trust that we are giving them the whole truth about how they can come here legally, who do not familiarize themselves with the documents we have sent them, who do not have a plan once they arrive here and who do not necessarily have the intention of keeping their dealings while here legal and above the law. One thing that I am grateful to my parents for is their firm belief that even if it will take longer, be more strenuous or trying, or cost more money we will abide with the law.
Has anyone else dealt with this? How do you (or have you) deal(t) with family members who want your help for immigration purposes, yet are unwilling to do their own part?
Want my monthly messages?
Subscribe for a monthly, often personal, message from Good Naija Girl.