The Nigerian law had since created an enabling environment for foreigners who want to embark on a voyage to Nigeria and work, do business or take over a business. Amongst this privilege is the grant of expatriate quota to the foreigner upon application. Subsequent to a successful application of the expatriate quota in Nigeria, the foreigner becomes certified and eligible to carry on with work or business in Nigeria.
The expatriate quota in Nigeria is the approval granted by the minister of interior affairs to foreign or indigenous companies to enable foreign employees, directors or owners of businesses work in Nigeria.
The Ministry of Interior Affairs is saddled with the responsibility of issuing the expatriate quota approval in Nigeria. A business permit is often processed together with expatriate quota in the case of wholly owned foreign company. Where the company consists of indigenous directors or shareholders, the company would not be required to obtain a business permit in other to process an expatriate quota. Every company that wishes to employ a foreigner is expected to obtain the Expatriate quota approval before processing the work permit, which is also known as the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC). It is pertinent to note that regulations 11 of the 2017 immigration regulations exempt member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from obtaining CERPAC provided that such citizen shall register with the service as nationals of ECOWAS.
The expatriate quota does not automatically grant residence permit except that it may serve as a temporary stay during the pendency of an application to renew the CERPAC.
TYPES OF EXPATRIATE QUOTA IN NIGERIA:
The expatriate quota is categorized into two different types. Each type of Expatriate quota to be applied for depends largely on the nature, relevance and duration of the position to be held by the expatriate.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING AN EXPATRIATE QUOTA IN NIGERIA
Application for expatriate quota can be made upon commencement of business or immediately after incorporation of a company and can also be granted subsequent to an initial grant in a circumstance where a company needs to employ more expatriate.
In certain sectors of the economy, such as oil and gas, the government agency supervising employment works together with the Minister of Interior to regulate the employment of expatriates in the sector of the economy. The minister carries out his function of regulating the foreign employment in the oil and gas sector through the Nigerian Local Content Development Board (the Board). Applicants are required to obtain the approval of the board in the form of a “Certificate of no objection” before applying for the expatriate quota.
Applicants can apply for as many quotas depending on the slots required, although expatriate quota in Nigeria is strictly controlled and not just easily approved to companies in other to protect the Nigerian working population.
Companies are mandated to allow their expatriates pass on the knowledge of relevant skills entailed in the job to Nigerians understudying for the purpose of minimize the unemployment situation of the country and avail indigenes the opportunity to gain requisite skills and take up available jobs in future from foreign employees relying on temporary expatriate quotas.
Finally, the measure of expatriate quota approval put in place by the Nigerian government has enabled the government to control the influx of foreign workers in different sectors of the economy where the local expertise can easily fit in.
The approval for a grant of an expatriate quota has been simplified so as not to stifle the neck of investors willing to invest in the Nigerian economy to work or monitor their businesses.
Therefore, the government has ensured that the foreign directors or owners of businesses can have such expatriate quota easily and permanently until it is reviewed.
By Immigration Law Department at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria