In a bid to free up job spaces taken up by foreigners for Nigerians, the Ministry of Interior on Monday commenced a reformation of the 1963 Nigerian Immigration Act which prohibits an employer from employing foreigners provided there is a suitable Nigerian for the job.
The reform is expected to fortify the Expatriate Quota Act and also put in place a proper administrator which will monitor compliance to the Act.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, made this known while he delivered the keynote address titled, ‘Expatriate Quota Administration in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects’, at the opening of workshop on expatriate quota in Lagos on Monday.
Admitting abuse of various immigration laws such as trading and non-utilisation of EQPs, foreign exchange leaching, forgery and fake EQPs and other documents, warehousing of files, non-compliance with understudy policy to ensure transfer of technology etc, the Minister stated that “they are obviously very worrisome”.
According to him, the ministry had resorted to automation to improve functionality and service delivery of the Ministry’s Citizenship and Business Department.
He said the guiding principles of the extant expatriate quota administration were still the Indigenisation laws which had been repealed by the NIPC Act of 1990 in line with global trends.
The Minister also noted that the advent of globalisation, movement of human and material resources in the age of knowledge economy has made the exchange of skills and knowledge undeniable.
He acknowledged that Nigeria does need foreign migrants with necessary skills in certain sectors to fast-track her economic development.
He urged the workshop to dwell on the need to articulate a compact between the Ministry of Interior and all relevant stakeholders on expatriate quota administration in the country, stating “the compact, if developed and approved, will be the building blocks and provide touchstones for consideration in all our ministerial approvals of quota facilities granted by the ministry.”
On the virtues of spontaneity, convenience and timeliness of the new visa regime recently approved by the federal government, the Minister affirmed that the visa will not compromise overall security and economic consideration of the country.