Oghogho Makinde Kolapo Saka September 28 2022 Re-inauguration of task force for enforcement of expatriate quota Aluko & Oyebode | Employment & Immigration - Nigeria Oghogho Makinde, Kolapo Saka Employment & Immigration IntroductionAbusesCommentIntroductionThe Ministry of Interior is responsible for the administration and technical enforcement of the Nigeria Immigration Act 2015 and the Immigration Regulations 2017 as it relates to the establishment of business in Nigeria by wholly foreign owned or joint venture companies and the employment of expatriates. One of its responsibilities is to the monitor the utilisation of quota positions by companies to ensure effective transfer of expertise to Nigerian understudies and eventual indigenisation of the positions occupied by the expatriates.(1)In furtherance of the above, in December 2020, the federal government (FG) through the Federal Ministry of Interior (the Ministry) inaugurated a nine-man Special Ministerial Task Force on Monitoring and Enforcement of Nigerian Expatriate Business Permit and Expatriate Quota. To further reiterate its commitment to ensure compliance with Nigerian immigrations laws and policies, the FG through the Ministry re-inaugurated a 21-member expanded taskforce (the taskforce) in 2022, as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure strict enforcement of the government's expatriates' quota policy (the EQ policy). The aim is to end the alleged abuses and gross violations of the polices.AbusesThe abuses cited by the Minister of Interior are as follows:companies employing expatriates without approval from the ministry;allegations of companies obtaining fake permits for their expatriates;companies' half-hearted or non-commitment to grooming Nigerian understudies;companies recruiting fewer than required understudies and giving them non-commensurate remunerations;illegal transfers of approvals between and among firms and expatriates; andfailure to train Nigerian understudies up to the standard of the expatriates that are being groomed to replace and expatriates staying on their jobs for more than 10 years, among other abuses.CommentThe expanded mandate of the taskforce will likely involve a heightened enforcement and further demands of compliance to the companies who violate the EQ policy. The minister of interior has reiterated that the taskforce is not a witch hunt or an attempt to make foreigners and their companies unwelcome. Rather, it is to ensure compliance with applicable laws and the EQ policy laws and to ensure proper documentation of foreigners' presence and their activities for their protection.EQs are valid for two years at the first instance and renewable cumulatively for a maximum of 10 years, after which the expatriate returns to their country. Consequently, it is important for companies to ensure that any expatriate under their employment has a minimum of two understudies to ensure continuity and compliance with Nigerian local content laws.The sanctions for non-compliance vary from fines to imprisonments. The minimum fine payable where there is a breach is 1 million naira, while the maximum is 5 million naira (approximately £2,145 to £10,700). The minimum term of imprisonment of is three years, and a maximum term of 10 years.Timely compliance with the EQ policy is advisable as the taskforce is expected to increase its oversight visits and administrative checks to companies in the coming weeks into the fourth quarter of 2022.For further information on this topic please contact Oghogho Makinde or Kolapo Saka at Aluko & Oyebode by telephone (+234 1 462 8360 71) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Aluko & Oyebode website can be accessed at www.aluko-oyebode.com.Endnotes (1) Handbook on Expatriate Quota Administration, revised in 2022.