Nigeria: House of Representatives investigates visa abuse in oil sector

In a high-profile case involving visa abuse by expatriates of a company in the oil sector, the Nigerian House of Representatives is calling for increased compliance to tackle immigration abuse.

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What does the change mean? Companies should expect greater scrutiny of their use of expatriate quotas and other requirements under immigration regulations and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Companies engaging expatriate workers and applying for work permits under quotas established by the Nigerian Content and Development Monitoring Board.
  • Business impact: The case is a reminder to companies operating in Nigeria to review their immigration policies and procedures to make sure they are in compliance with all local regulations.

Background: The Nigerian House of Representatives called for the Nigeria Immigration Service to step up its enforcement of the expatriate quota system after the deportation of three expatriates employed by an international company in the oil sector. The House called for a wider investigation and audit of the company, which was found to be employing several expatriate workers with expired visas.

BAL Analysis: Companies operating in Nigeria should anticipate greater compliance oversight by immigration authorities in light of the recent case. The Nigeria Immigration Service’s senior leadership has recently changed, with the appointment of a new comptroller general in May, which historically leads to increased enforcement activity.

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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Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seven offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

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