Employers must immediately verify long-term work permits of foreign workers

14 Mar 16

NIGERIA

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is conducting a nationwide audit of all long-term work permits (known locally as the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card, or CERPAC) that have been issued to foreign workers.

What does the change mean? The long-term work permits of all foreign nationals must be submitted to the NIS by either the employer or the employer’s representative for verification between March 14 -31.

  • Implementation time frame: March 14 – March 31.
  • Visas/permits affected: Long-term work permits (CERPACs).
  • Who is affected: Foreign workers with CERPACs.
  • Business impact: The verification system is a reminder for companies to make sure they are in compliance with immigration and work permit regulations.
  • Next steps: Employers must present the passports and CERPACs of their foreign national employees, a copy of the company’s expatriate quota and a copy of the company’s monthly expatriate quota return for February 2016 at their local NIS CERPAC Production Center. (There are eight such centers throughout Nigeria.) Foreign employees are not required to appear in person. BAL can assist in the process and present the required documentation on the employer’s behalf.

Background: The nationwide effort indicates that the government further clamping down on abuse of long-term work authorization. “The NIS going forward intends to ensure strict compliance of the long term work permit process and penalise companies that breach or abuse the process.” said Kunle Obebe, a partner with Bloomfield Law Practice in Lagos.

Nigeria passed an immigration law in June emphasizing compliance, and recently imposed new limits and monetary fines on business visitors who overstay.

BAL Analysis: Employers should plan to have their CERPACs verified as soon as possible and by no later than March 31.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Nigeria. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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