Reps want expatriates restricted from taking Nigerian jobs

The House of Representatives is considering preventing expatriates from taking jobs for which Nigerians are qualified for.

The lower chamber of the National Assembly is, therefore, proposing an amendment to the Immigration Act 2015 to restrict the issuance of work permit to foreigners.

This is contained in a bill sponsored by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, which passed first reading in July 2019.

The bill had earlier been presented to the 8th National Assembly in 2016 but is now being revisited and entitled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Immigration Act 2015 to Make Further Provisions to Restrict and Regulate the Issuance of Work Permit to Foreign Nationals and Other Related Matters.’

Gbajabiamila, in the explanatory note, said, “This bill seeks to amend the Immigration Act to make further provisions restrict and regulate the issuance of work permit to foreign nationals and expatriates, thereby creating employment for the Nigerian youth.”

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The bill particularly seeks to amend Section 38 of the Immigration Act by deleting the existing sub-sections 4, 5 and 6 and creating new sub-sections 4, 5, 6 and 7.

If passed by the National Assembly as proposed, it will now read, “Section 38: (4) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, this Act or in any other enactment, no foreign national shall be granted a work permit in Nigeria unless the employer(s) has shown to the Comptroller-General of Immigration that he has sought applications from qualified Nigerians in that same position for which the foreign national/expatriate is being employed and no Nigerian possesses the requisite knowledge or is willing to work in that area of specialisation or interest.

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“(5) Any person of foreign national, who immediately before the coming into force of this Act, is working in Nigeria may have his work permit revoked by the Comptroller-General of Immigration and deportation order issued against such person; and any person to whom this section applies, who is employed in Nigeria shall, on ceasing for any reason to be so employed, be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant as from the date of the expiration of his permit and the person who employed him shall be liable to pay all costs and incidental expenses for the repatriation of the prohibited immigrant and of his dependents.”

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The proposed law, however, exempted any person named as a director of a company.

The bill further reads, “(6) Any person or officer who either by himself or in collusion with any other person does any act or engage in any activity to breach the provisions of this section shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding N2,000,000 or five years imprisonment or both as the court may deem fit.

“For the purpose of this section, any person being a company or association shall be deemed to be in Nigeria if carrying out work therein.”

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