On March 20, 2017, the Honourable Minister of Interior (the “Minister”) Lt. Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau (retired), issued the Immigration Regulations 2017 (the “Regulations”). The key objective for issuing the Regulations is to create a legal framework for the implementation of the Immigration Act 2015 (“Act”)1 (Please refer to our article on the review of the Act) and a repeal of the Immigration Regulations 1963.
The Regulations which have come into effect raise a myriad of compliance issues, which corporate entities that have foreign nationals, as employees, need to be abreast of and strictly comply with.
This briefing seeks to highlight the provisions of the Regulations and in particular, the various compliance matters and red flags that both the body corporate and foreign national employees must be aware of.
Highlights of the Regulations
1. BUSINESS PERMIT
The Regulations codify the need for a foreign national to obtain a business permit,2 prior to establishing a profession, business or trade in Nigeria. Thus, a business permit is issued to local Nigerian registered entities that have foreign interest or investment and the permit is issued in the name of the local Nigerian registered entity.
It is pertinent to note that the business permit in itself does not grant the holder resident status. The holder must, in addition to obtaining a business permit for the requisite business, also apply for and procure the requisite visa or permit to reside in Nigeria.
The Regulations also provide a penalty for failure to renew business permit3 failing which same may be revoked.4 It is germane to note that the practice, post issuance of the Regulation, didn’t require the renewal of a business permit. We therefore look forward to receiving further guidance from the Ministry in relation to the business permit renewal.