Author: O. M. Atoyebi S.A.N FCIArb. (U.K.)., Contributor: Toheeb Adeagbo AICMC
Pursuant to Section 116 of the Nigeria Immigration Act 2015, the Minister of Interior through the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for the administration and technical enforcement of the Nigeria Immigration Act and Immigration Regulations 2017, as it relates to the establishment of business in Nigeria by wholly foreign-owned or Joint Venture companies and the employment of expatriates. It should be noted that these responsibilities basically involve; a) granting of Business Permits and Expatriate Quotas Approval and b) monitoring of the utilization of quota positions by companies, and ensuring effective transfer of technology to Nigerian understudies. It is in tandem with these responsibilities that the Ministry of Interior released a Handbook on Expatriate Quota Administration on the 31st day of August, 2022.
The services currently available range from granting Business Permits, amending Business Permits, granting Expatriate Quotas, granting renewal of Expatriate Quotas, granting additional Expatriate Quotas, re-designation of Expatriate Quotas, extension of tagged expatriate Quotas, among others.
Grant of Business Permit: On the authority of the Minister of Interior, a certificate is issued to a foreign-owned or Joint Venture Company with foreign participation to enable them operate legally. The certificate remains valid as long as it is not revoked.
Grant of Establishment/Expatriate Quota: This allows companies/ organizations to engage the services of expatriate personnel with skills and competencies in fields that are scarce and/or not available locally. This grant is for a period of three (3) years in the first instance, renewable biennially for two consecutive times within a lifespan of seven (7) years. With the exception of approvals for companies in the oil and gas industry, which will have their approval for an initial period of two years and renewable once within a life span of four years.
OFFENCES AND SANCTIONS/ PENALTIES
Some of the sanctions and penalties related to offences in Expatriate Quota utilization are stipulated in Sections 56 and 57 of the Nigeria Immigration Act 2015 and in Part VII of the Immigration Regulations (Regulations 52(6), 52(7) and 53. They are as follows:
In my opinion, the revised Expatriate Quota Administration Handbook is a step in the right direction as it encapsulates all the administrative facets of Nigerian Immigration. However, I believe that more can be done to further stimulate progress in this area.
 This Act repeals the Immigration Act, Cap. I1, LFN, 2004, and the Passport (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap. P1, LFN, 2004