For foreign companies looking to expand and set up operations in Nigeria, it is important that personnel with a good understanding of the companies’ strategy are available to support in the establishment and the nascent stages of the company. In this article, we have highlighted the basic immigration requirements for a foreign company carrying on business in Nigeria and salient points to note on the new Guidelines on the Administration of Expatriate Quota and Other Business Instruments issued on January 24, 2022.
What is a Business Permit?
A company that is wholly or partly owned by a foreigner (individual and corporate) is required to apply and obtain a Business Permit (“BP”) from the Nigerian Ministry of Interior, Citizenship and Business Department (the “Ministry”).
The BP is issued to the company to enable the foreigners legally carry on the business of the company in Nigeria.
How is the BP different from the NIPC Business Registration?
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (“NIPC”) is authorised under the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act to register the investment of any foreign individual or company in Nigeria for the purpose of maintaining up to date records (and also developing suitable programs to attract investments) whilst a BP authorises foreigners to carry on a registered business in Nigeria.
What is an Expatriate Quota?
Under the Nigerian Immigration Act 2015, any company that wishes to employ an expatriate is required to apply for an Expatriate Quota (“EQ”) from the Ministry. Based on the company’s application, the EQ shall specify the number of expatriates to be employed and the positions to be occupied by the expatriate. The company is also required to attach two Nigerian understudies to the expatriate.
The EQ when granted would be issued for three years. Upon expiration, it can be renewed for additional periods of 2 years until the expiration of its 10 years life span.
It is important to note that under the New Guidelines, a company with EQ positions is now required to:
- submit online monthly returns stating how the company is utilizing the EQ positions obtained; and
- ensure the expatriate and the Nigerian understudies obtain their National Identification Number (NIN) and include this information in the monthly returns filed.
When can a Company apply for Permanent Until Reviewed Status?
A company with EQ positions may apply to the Ministry for a Permanent Until Reviewed (PUR) status for the EQ positions. Upon approval, the EQ positions will become permanent (i.e. without a need for renewal). The EQ with PUR status is, however, subject to review by the Ministry at periodic intervals.
What is the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC)?
To enable the expatriate reside and work in Nigeria, the company is also required to apply for the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC). This is a combination of a resident permit and a work permit which authorises the holder to live and work in Nigeria. The CERPAC is issued further to the EQ positions of the company.
Read the original publication at Pavestones.