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Requirements For The Employment Of Expatriates In Nigeria – Work Visas



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The law is trite that any foreigner seeking employment in
Nigeria must get the consent and approval of the Comptroller
General of the Nigeria Immigration Service1. Similarly,
any company in Nigeria seeking to employ a foreigner must also seek
the consent of the Comptroller General of the Immigration service.
This article aims to examine and discuss all the approvals needed
to enable a foreigner work in Nigeria.

  1. EXPATRIATE QUOTA

First and foremost, the Expatriate Quota (EQ) is where the legal
procedure for hiring a foreign worker in Nigeria gets started.
Every Nigerian company that wants to hire a foreign worker must
first get an Expatriate Quota from the Nigerian Immigration Service
(NIS). The number of expatriates the NIS allots to each company
wishing to employ expats in its business in Nigeria is known as the
expatriate quota. A company that is employing an expatriate must be
incorporated in Nigeria in order for them to work
there2.  Additionally, before conducting business
in Nigeria, any company with foreign shareholders must also get a
business permit.

However, it is worthy of note that the following people are
excluded from EQ application:

  • government officials;

  • foreign students;

  • expatriate technical officials;

  •  expatriates of international non-governmental
    organizations (INGO), and

  • expatriates of firms operating in the free zones.

The approval of expatriate quotas in Nigeria is subject to
additional procedures that are industry-specific. For instance, the
Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (NOGICD
ACT), which governs the oil and gas industry, permits operators and
project promoters to retain up to five percent (5%) of their
management positions as expatriates’ positions subject to the
requirement that they submit a succession plan to the Nigerian
Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). Also, the NOGICD
Act3 mandates that all EQ applications be approved
by the NCDMB before being submitted to the Federal Ministry of the
Interior. Applications for a temporary work permit also fall under
this category.

Upon fulfilling the requirements for the grant of an expatriate
quota and the grant thereof, the Nigerian company can then apply to
the Nigerian embassy situate in the resident country of the
Expatriate for a “Subject to Regularization Visa”
(STR).

  • SUBJECT TO REGULARIZATION VISA (STR)

The STR Visa is valid for 90 (Ninety) days. This is the Visa
that is granted to an Expatriate pending the regularization of
status.

REQUIRMENTS FOR THE GRANT OF AN
STR
4

  1. Passport with at least 6 months validity

  2. Completed visa form in quadruplicate with four recent passport
    photographs

  3. Four copies of letter of Expatriate Quota Approval from
    Ministry of Interior

  4. Four copies of credentials, certificates and curriculum vitae,
    all vetted by a relevant official of Nigerian High
    Commission/Embassy (English Certified translated copy where
    applicable)

  5. Four copies of offer Letter of Employment

  6. Four copies of Letter of Acceptance of employment, signed by
    expatriate

  7. Nigeria Immigration Service Visa Payment Receipt and Visa
    Acknowledgement Receipt

Subsequent upon the grant of an STR, an application for the
grant of a  “Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and
Alien Card” (CERPAC) shall be made.

  • COMBINED EXPATRIATE RESIDENCE PERMIT AND ALIEN CARD
    (CERPAC)

A CERPAC must be obtained by any expatriate who plans to live
and work in Nigeria for a period of time longer than 56 days.
Having a CERPAC document enables non-Nigerians to live and work in
Nigeria. CERPAC is a work or resident permit required for any
foreigner to lawfully reside or work in Nigeria. However, except
for missionaries, students from ECOWAS African nations and
Cameroonian’s nationals as well as those with special
immigrant status, diplomats, government employees, International
NGOs, and Niger-wives, all other categories of foreigners are
eligible for CERPAC.

REQUIRMENTS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF CERPAC IN
NIGERIA

  • Application letter from the employer requesting regularization
    of stay and accepting immigration responsibility on behalf of the
    expatriate;

  • Letter of appointment/employment;

  • Acceptance of offer of appointment /employment;

  • Form IMM22 with three (3) passport size photographs;

  • Quota approval;

  • Credentials; and

  • Valid Passport with STR visa and photocopies of relevant
    pages.

A Temporary Work Permit (TWP) is the permit needed where an
expatriate has no intention to work in Nigeria on a long-term
basis. A TWP is usually granted for three (3) months.it can be
extended for an additional six (6) months. It is a single-entry
visa for foreigners who intend to work on a short-term basis in
Nigeria.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A TWP

  • Letter of request or invitation from the company;

  • Confirmed airline return ticket;

  • Acceptance of immigration responsibility by the company;

  • CAC incorporation documents

  • Company’s profile

  • An application letter to the Comptroller General of Immigration
    on the requesting company’s letter head

Footnotes

1 Section 34 Immigration Act

2 Section 54, Companies and Allied Matters
Act

3 Section 33


4 https://portal.immigration.gov.ng/pages/visaguidelines

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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