Details of the Proposed Changes to Nigeria’s Expatriate Quota Regime
Recently, Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) held its 2nd stakeholders’ meeting to discuss expatriate quota matters. Business Elites Africa understands that the meeting was hosted by the Citizenship and Business Department of the Ministry, whose function it is to enforce immigration laws as it relates to the issuance of
business permits and Expatriate Quota (EQ) positions.
During the meeting, stakeholders were allowed to make inputs to the revised draft handbook on expatriate quota administration and challenges experienced by the public. Attendees deliberated on current practices and proposed changes in the draft handbook with options available for receiving further input. Below are the proposed changes.
Changes to Nigeria’s Expatriate Quota Regime
- Increase paid up capital for business permits: This will apply to only
wholly foreign or joint venture companies in need of business permit to
commence business in Nigeria.
- Reduced EQ lifespan: The grant for EQPs could be for a period of three
(3) years initially and could be renewable biennially for two consecutive
times within a lifespan of seven (7) years.
- Exclusions: Professions under the exempt list could be granted EQP if
an exchange programme can be justified. Additionally, for artisans, the
grant is subject to further consideration by the various sectors.
- Tax compliance: Corporate tax clearance certificate to be a requirement
for obtaining permanent until reviewed quota. This practice has started
but is yet to be published.
- Security clearance report from the Department of State Security Service
(DSS) would be required for grants relating to NGOs and religious bodies.
- Increased collaboration: Increased collaboration with ministries,
departments and agencies.
- Not for profit organisations: Special considerations to be included with
guidance from relevant stakeholders.
- Online presence and full digitalization: Online verification process to
be communicated in the handbook. Full automation of the entire process
on the portal via http://www.ectibiz.interior.gov.ng
Key Takeaways to Note
The MOI’s involvement of a wider stakeholder group is commendable. In the final stages prior to publishing the handbook, it is important that the emerging rules/processes do not make Nigeria less competitive in the ease of doing business ranking.
It is expected that the final handbook will be an easy reference for applicants and provide clarifications on existing processes. This has been done in compliance with the Executive Order One of 2017 on the promotion of transparency in the business environment. Section 112 of the Immigration Act also provides that the Minister can issue regulations for the administration of the Act. We expect these will be issued to provide a legal framework for the proposed changes to the extent allowed by the Act.
Affected individuals and employers are advised to stay abreast and leverage relevant platforms to contribute to the Handbook review process to ensure that existing challenges are addressed.
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