Are you a foreigner intending to invest and employ foreign workers in your Nigerian company? If you fall within this category, this article is for you.
The Nigerian Immigration system is regulated by the Immigration Act, 2015 and the Immigration Regulations, 2017 (the “Laws”). The Laws provide for several types of visas, and this newsletter explains their relevance in connection with doing business in Nigeria.
What are the relevant visas/permits?
- Combined Expatriates Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC)– The CERPAC is a residence permit which grants the holder the right to reside and work in Nigeria for a period of two years, subject to renewal.
- Subject To Regularisation (STR) Visa – The STR visa grants the holder leave to remain and work in Nigeria for a period of ninety (90) days. STR visas are issued upon the request of organisations seeking to employ foreigners. Requesting organisations are expected to regularise the immigration status of the foreign employee within ninety (90) days by applying for an expatriate quota and CERPAC on their behalf.
- Expatriate Quota – All companies that intend to employ foreigners must have an expatriate quota. Expatriate quota refers to the number of foreigners a company operating in Nigeria is allowed to employ. The issuance of an expatriate quota is a prerequisite to the issuance of a CERPAC.
Are there visas for foreigners who intend to work in Nigeria for a short period?
Yes. The Temporary Work Visa (TWV) is applicable to foreign workers invited by corporate bodies to provide specialized skilled services for a short term not exceeding ninety (90) days.
If I intend to visit Nigeria for business meetings or conferences, which type of visa will I require?
A Business Visa will be required for this purpose. This visa does not grant the holder the right to work in Nigeria and it is valid for a non-extendable period of ninety (90) days.
Is there any additional information I should know?
Yes. Regulatory authorities in certain sectors have established some local content requirements which companies must adhere to. An example is the Oil & Gas sector.
Are there penalties for working in Nigeria without authorisation?
Yes. Foreigners who work in Nigeria without authorisation are liable to be deported. Likewise organisations who employ them are subject to a fine of ₦1,000,000 or a five year jail term or both. Erring organisations will also be liable to offset the cost of deportation and may be penalised by authorities regulating their sector.