Obtaining a Work Permit for Nigeria
This brief legal guide gives an overview of the different types of work permit which can be obtained for Nigeria, and discusses the process to be followed and other relevant issues.
Under Nigerian Law, to employ a foreign worker, there are 2 separate visas that can be obtained – the Temporary Work Permit or a Subject to Regularisation Visa.
Temporary Work Permit
The Temporary Work Permit is a visa granted to a foreign worker to work in Nigeria for a limited period to undertake specialized skilled services, such as after sales installation, maintenance, repairs of machines & equipment. This is required if the employee will only be in Nigeria for a short period of time for certain approved tasks. The process is that the company would apply directly to the Comptroller General of Immigration for approval, if approval is given, this is then transmitted to the home country of the employee and he is granted the permit to come into Nigeria. For a Temporary Work Permit, the individual can only stay in the country for a maximum of 3 months.
Subject to Regularisation Visa
Where the potential employee will be in the country for a long-term employment engagement (over 3 months) and will be taking up full time employment. The company will have to make an application to the Comptroller-General of Immigration for Expatriate quota, this expatriate quota approval gives the company the right to be able to employ foreigners.
Where a company has not obtained expatriate quota approval, it is unable to employ foreigners. Once the quota is obtained then it is included as a necessary document in the application for the subject to regularisation visa for the employee. The expatriate quota approval is therefore a condition precedent to the grant of a subject to regularisation visa.
Expatriate Quota Approval is obtained by making an application to the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs in Nigeria, and submitting all the required documentation for the application. Once an expatriate quota application is approved, it awards the company with 2 expatriate quota slots, which means that the company is automatically granted the right to hire 2 foreign workers. Please note however, that there is a process for applying for extra slots.
Once the employee is granted the subject to regularisation visa and then enters the country, he/she will then need to apply for a Combined Expatriate Residence permit and Alien Card (CERPAC). The CERPAC is a residency card valid for a period of 2 years.
This guide was written by our Partner – Babatunde Ibidapo-Obe and he can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or +234 706 957 0096 for any questions, feedback, or consultation concerning obtaining a work permit in Nigeria.
Please note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. It is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer.