Migration: What to expect if you decide to live and work in Sierra Leone

Migration: What to expect if you decide to live and work in Sierra Leone

I am a Nigerian living in Nigeria. I am desiring to go to Sierra Leone, get a job and live there. What are the possibilities considering I have never been there before, have no one there and no permit (if needed)?

You would be welcomed in Sierra Leone! Says Edmond Sesay. We are warm hearted to all but especially to Nigerians.


”The links between Nigeria and Sierra Leone are quite strong, with Nigeria seen as a big brother. Some backstory is in order here…


”Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone was one of the few places in West Africa where freed slaves from Europe and the America’s were resettled. As you may know, the slave trade continued in the black market, although it had been made illegal by Britain. So the British set up a frigate to patrol the west African coast and liberate the captive slaves in the smugglers ships. These would-have-been slaves became known as the “liberated Africans.” But then, the British decided to resettle most of them in Freetown where they had a naval base and a thriving community of “real” freed slaves. Now, the liberated Africans were people that had not made the trip across the Atlantic and so had only barely been exposed to non-African culture. A significant number of them were of Yoruba descent and were called “The Oku” people. In present day Sierra Leone, descendants of the Oku people are very influential and still bear distinctly Nigerian, if not Yoruba names and cultural practices. So Nigerians coming to Sierra Leone are not seen as strangers at all and can therefore easily integrate into the fabric of our society.


Another strong and recent bond between Nigerians and Sierra Leoneans was formed towards the end of Sierra Leone’s civil war, in the early 2000’s. Many Sierra Leoneans still remember the Nigerian lives that were lost in the fight to end the war. When it ended, many Nigerian soldiers who initially returned home came back to permanently settle and raise their families in Freetown. On the other end, thousands of our sisters made their way to Nigeria as the wives of the soldiers that stayed in the home country. So, Oga my brother/sister, there is not one, but two large, distinct and celebrated groups of Nigerians that call Sierra Leone home and that have paved the way for any Nigerian to relocate to Sierra Leone and fuse seamlessly with the locals.


Regarding practicalities, a Nigerian passport holder doesn’t need a visa to travel to or to live in Sierra Leone. You may or may not need a work permit, but even if you do, it’s a fast process and you are allowed to work while the work permit is been processed (same rights for all Ecowas citizens). There are not many jobs around though (if you’re not an expatriate). But on the positive, there are no language barriers so long as you speak English and pidgin. Fun fact: the Nigerian Pidgin is highly regarded and many Sierra Leoneans aspire to speak it thanks to a strong Nollywood influences.”

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