Japa Syndrome, Fair Recruitment and The Exploitation of Labour Migrants: Navigating the Corridors of Skilled Work Migration In NIGERIA


  • Tracie Utoh-Ezeajugh Centre for Migration Studies Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Nigeria
  • Emmanuel Onyekachukwu Ebekue Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria


Japa Syndrome, Fair Recruitment Labour Migrants, Skilled migrants


“Japa” has become the new phenomenon among the middle class in Nigeria, heralding a mass exodus of individuals and families on a daily basis from their country of origin to destination countries in search of job opportunities amongst others. Many intending migrants have embraced the option of the skilled work migration platform which is easily available through referrals, the internet and personal contacts. Recent cases of extortion, exploitation and unfair recruitment of Nigerian migrant workers by recruitment agencies
have begun to raise concerns as to the complicities of the different actors who are in one way or the other involved in the skilled workers migration programs in Nigeria. This is because despite the barrage of controversies that have arisen from the skilled workers
migration programs, not much have been done to ameliorate the plight of victims and stop the continued exploitation of Nigerian labour migrants who are often issued skilled work visas for non-existent jobs in the United Kingdom and other destination countries. The concern comes with the eventual exploitation arising from deceit and unfair recruitment processes that throw supposed migrant employees into a mire of uncertainties and hardship in the event of abandoning everything that constitutes the reality of their lives in
Nigeria to destination countries, with the expectation of improved remunerations and better working conditions. The research employs the content analysis approach in interrogating the issues raised in the Sky News’ investigative documentary video on employment/visa scam being exerted on labour migrants in the UK, as well as data from an open -ended survey questionnaire administered to migration stakeholders in Nigeria to inquire into the controversies of skilled work migration arising from unfair and deceitful recruitment exercises by dubious agencies that facilitate migrant skilled work recruitment exercises in Nigeria. Implementation of the fair recruitment standards are recommended for improved migration processes and work conditions.