Nigeria’s thriving economy is increasingly drawing the attention of global investors, leading to a remarkable upsurge in foreign investment. Yet, this vibrant landscape comes with its unique intricacies, especially when it comes to hiring international professionals. To successfully tap into this talent pool, understanding and adhering to the specific laws and regulations is not just advisable—it’s essential. From legal stipulations to procedural requisites, certain factors need to be comprehensively assessed before welcoming a foreign national into your workforce. This article serves as your comprehensive roadmap, illuminating the key steps and considerations vital to successfully employing a foreigner in Nigeria.
Legal Framework For Employing Foreigners
The foundation of this journey lies in understanding key laws, notably the Immigration Act of 2015, which outlines the criteria and processes for employing international professionals. To further streamline the process, this law provides comprehensive guidelines for securing work permits and visas. There’s a broad array of permits and visas at your disposal, from the Temporary Work Permit (TWP) to the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), and the Subject to Regularization (STR) visa. Each of these offers unique advantages, with specific eligibility criteria and durations of stay to consider. But it’s not just about laws and paperwork. Navigating this terrain also requires interaction with key regulatory bodies. These include the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the Federal Ministry of Interior, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Requirements For Employment Of Foreigners In Nigeria
Nigerian employers seeking to hire foreigners must demonstrate that they have attempted to hire Nigerian citizens but unable to find qualified ones. This means that these employers must show that the foreigner is qualified for the job they are applying for. The other requirements to employ a foreigner in Nigeria include:
- Expatriate Quota
- Combined Expatriate Residence Permit And Aliens Card (CERPAC).
The law of Nigeria makes provisions for the employment of expatriates. According to Section 8 of the Immigration Act, any foreigner applying for a job or a work visa in Nigeria must get the Comptroller General of Immigration’s approval. An Expatriate Quota is granted as proof of this consent.
The Expatriate Quota is a legal document that gives employers the right to hire foreign nationals for a set amount of time in positions that have been previously approved by management. In order to train and impart the necessary skills to Nigerians while they are employed, it is a type of authorization given to businesses and registered corporations to hire expatriates with the necessary skills and abilities.
The maximum number of foreign employees that are allowed by companies operating in Nigeria or intending to operate there is specified in an Expatriate quota. The system is intended to stop the haphazard hiring of foreign nationals for employment when qualified Nigerians already exist. As a result, the firm receives the Expatriate quota rather than the expatriate. When an expatriate quits a company, ownership of the position returns to the company, and for as long as the quota position is still valid, the company may hire another expatriate to fill the position.
A company that would like to obtain an Expatriate Quota must make an application to the Federal Ministry of Interiors Affairs using the special form created for that purpose. The application must be accompanied by some documents such as the Company’s incorporation documents, tax clearance certificate, Lease agreement, and so on.
Combined Expatriates Residence Permit and Aliens Permit (CERPAC)
It is important to note that all foreigners must obtain the CERPAC (Combined Expatriates Residence Permit and Aliens Card) before being allowed to work in Nigeria. The CERPAC Green Card is an authentic document that enables a non-Nigerian to live in Nigeria, engage in an authorized activity as stated in the permission, or travel with a resident of Nigeria as a dependent. The card is valid for two years, at which point a request for revalidation or renewal must be submitted.
The body in charge of issuing and renewing CERPAC in Nigeria is the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), but they work closely with the Ministry of Interiors to complete their tasks. To apply for CERPAC, a formal application to the Nigerian Immigration service is accompanied by other documents such as Expatriate quota approval, an international passport with the visa endorsement “subject to regularization (STR)”, duly completed CERPAC form, Letter of employment, Acceptance of the employment offer and so on.
It should be noted that a company that employs the expatriate must apply for and approve an expatriate quota prior to filing for CERPAC in Nigeria. Therefore, the CERPAC is for the expatriate who wants to live and work in Nigeria, and the Expatriate quota is for enterprises who want to hire expatriates.
Undoubtedly, the process of legally integrating foreign professionals into your Nigerian workforce may present challenges. However, the reward—a diversified, enriched team—makes every step worthwhile. To ensure a smooth transition, it’s essential to kickstart the process well in advance, considering the various applications involved. By following the steps outlined in this article and seeking the guidance of a seasoned consultant, you’re on your way to securing all necessary permits and visas.
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