Expatriate quota is a type of authorization given by the Ministry of Interior to businesses and registered firms to hire foreign nationals with the necessary capabilities with the intention of teaching Nigerian understudies and passing on the necessary knowledge during the job period.
The essence of having a quota system for the hiring of foreign nationals is so as to stop the indiscriminate hiring of foreign nationals for positions where qualified Nigerians are available to fill them. The Expatriate Quota is another tool for ensuring that necessary technology is transferred to Nigerians.
There are provisions for the employment of expatriates in Nigeria in the Nigerian Immigration Act, Cap. 171, LFN 2004, and the Immigration Regulations enacted thereunder. According to the Act1, 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 the form in which this consent is given (EQ). The EQ allows businesses to hire foreign nationals for a set number of years in positions that have been officially approved.
REQUIRMENTS FOR THE GRANT OF AN EXPATRIATE QUOTA IN NIGERIA
For a company to be granted an expatriate quota, the following documents below are needed:
- Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Incorporation documents
- Business Permit (Not applicable to companies with 100% indigenous ownership)
- Feasibility study report
- Evidence of imported machinery (where Applicable)
- Lease agreement or certificate of occupancy of business premises
- Latest tax clearance certificate of the company
- Permit or Certificate from appropriate regulatory body (where the company is involved in oil services, health services, fishing, mining, or construction)
- Proof of the completed job and the contract's worth, if the business is involved in building, civil engineering, or construction.
- Proposed annual salaries for the foreign workers to be hired, along with a list of their names, titles, and qualifications.
- Comprehensive training programs for the Nigerian understudies
- Certificate of Capital Importation (not applicable to businesses that hold 100% indigenous equity)
- Bank Reference Letter
- Completed Immigration Form T1 fully filled out
The Processing of an EQ usually takes about 20 working days. In granting an Expatriate quota, genuine local skill shortages are taken into account while deciding whether or not to approve slots. Although there is no cap on the number of EQ positions that can be offered, hiring Nigerians whenever such skills are available locally is always given great attention.
TYPES OF EXPATRIATE QUOTA
There are two types of EQ. Namely: Permanent Until Reviewed (PUR)and Temporary EQ
A PUR is given on a longer-term basis. It is typically given to a company's highest top management and reserved for the Chairman or the Managing Director. A PUR is usually granted in order to protect the interest of the investors. While Positions that would be filled temporarily are designated as Temporary EQs.
Beneficiaries of EQ approvals are expected to hire two Nigerian understudies for each position that is approved and to submit monthly immigration returns to the Nigerian Immigration Service and the Ministry of Interior. Also, an expatriate quota is given for a three-year beginning term. However, subject to a maximum of 10 years, it may be renewed for additional terms of two years each, during which time the necessary skills for the post should have been transmitted to competent Nigerian understudies.
Any qualifying company, firm, or organization may be given expatriate quota slots, regardless of the ownership structure. Companies with 100% foreign ownership may also receive EQ. As long as a company is duly registered in Nigeria and/or licensed to carry out business operations, such a company can apply for an EQ.
Furthermore, the Federal Ministry of Interior has recently issued a Public Notice implementing additional guidelines to regulate Expatriate Quota, related matters and business residency in Nigeria2. The Guidelines became effective on the 24th of January 20223. By virtue of this Guidelines, in order to apply for new EQ posts as well as to renew existing positions in their EQ portfolio, organizations are now obliged to submit their company facility to inspections and pay a Company Inspection charge4. In addition, organizations that have received EQ facilities are now expected to submit their Expatriate Monthly Returns on the utilization of such facilities. The National Identity Numbers (NIN) of the expatriates and their Nigerian students must be included in the returns.5 By virtue of this Guideline, Organizations must now formally write to the Office of the Director, Citizenship and Business Department of the Ministry of Interior, introducing their representative or consultant to the Ministry. The representative's or consultant's information, including two copies of recent passport photos and a photocopy of the official identification card, must be included in the letter.
In conclusion, employers bear the majority of the responsibility for compliance and the prevention of EQ abuse, and they also bear the brunt of the consequences when negligence is shown.
The legal position is clear: in order to hire a non-Nigerian, a corporation must first obtain permission from the Ministry of Interior. Additionally, businesses in regulated industries must get extra licenses to hire foreign nationals from their principal authorities in addition to the Minister's authorization. Therefore, it is in the employers' best interests to uphold an ensure full compliance with the law.
1 Nigerian Immigration Act, Cap. 171, LFN 2004
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.