Expanding Legal Migration Pathways from Nigeria to Europe: From Brain Drain to Brain Gain

The youth population within Nigeria is rapidly increasing, but despite their high levels of education and skills, many are struggling to find meaningful work opportunities at home. At the same time, Europe’s working-age population is declining, resulting in employers in these countries facing large and persistent skill shortages within a range of mid-skill professions. Despite the large benefits that facilitating migration between Nigeria and Europe could bring, and despite the overtures of both European governments and the European Union, few mutually beneficial migration partnerships exist.

This report, a joint production between the World Bank and the Center for Global Development (CGD), outlines how the Global Skill Partnership model could be used to meet needs on both sides. It explores the growing youth unemployment rate in Nigeria, the increasing emigration pressure, and the structures that have been set up to manage this movement. It also explores the large skill shortages persistent within Europe, its migration management relationship with Africa, and the potential positive impacts of opening new legal migration pathways. It creates a framework with which to explore potential sectors and partner countries for the implementation of the Global Skill Partnership model, providing practical steps that governments can follow. And finally, it applies this framework to three sectors and partner countries: a health care partnership between Nigeria and the UK, a construction partnership between Nigeria and Germany, and an information and communications technology (ICT) partnership with various European states.