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Violation of expatriate quotas to be stopped

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By Mercy Kelani

FG has set up a task force to identify expatriates with fake permits.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has come to the awareness of the indiscriminate abuse of expatriate quota applications by companies under operation in Nigeria and has therefore organized a task force mandated to collect all taxes from firms that are defaulting, from 2019 to date. The task force is also assigned to audit every expatriate quota application within the same period and identify those who possess fake permits and are employees in those companies, verifying compliance of expatriate quota by companies and certifying the contact details of every expatriate in Nigeria. While auditing, the task force will identify all expatriates that have, through the exceeding of the seven years maximum approval, abused their stay in the country. Asides that, the panel is saddled with the responsibility of authenticating the personal taxes of all expatriates in the country.

According to the Minister of Interior Affairs, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, during the inauguration of the task force in Abuja, stated that the Federal Government duties that would be delivered by the body is only a step towards protecting the Nigerian economy and monitoring the safety and activities of Nigerians, but never with the obligation to witch-hunt anyone. He further described the expatriate quota as a global best practice that is adopted by countries to protect their economies and aid the stimulation of development through healthy relationships with other nations.

Expatriate quotas permit the bringing in of high-level skilled manpower.

This panel, although firstly inaugurated on December 1, 2020, was relaunched on August 22, 2022, due to some developments that brought about the expansion of the membership of the task force. It is a means of spreading innovations and developments around the globe with the aim of regulating social and cultural interactions. With the right administration, it breeds healthy economic, social, and cultural relationships among nations. Likewise, it enables the effective documentation of the presence and activities of foreigners, while guaranteeing their protection and wellbeing.

Expatriate quotas are an issuance to foreign and sometimes Nigerian firms that permit the bringing in of high-level skilled manpower that is not readily available in the country. The validity of the permit lasts until two years, when it is firstly issued, but is renewable cumulatively for a maximum of 10 years. After the expiration of the permit, the expatriate is expected to return to his or her country. Prior to the return, a minimum of two Nigerians must have been groomed to take over from the expatriates.

The policy attracts investments in the country’s economy.

The adoption of this policy has attracted investments in the country’s economy and has enabled the development of high-level manpower. Technology transfer is also assured, if the grooming of Nigerians is properly done. Also, according to President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to ensure the provision of 100 million job opportunities for Nigerians, the policy serves as a strategy towards its achievement. Foreigners are permitted to come along with their own people to incentivize foreign investments and job creation.

However, the government has noticed abuses and gross violations of the policy. Some of the abuses include the employment of expatriates by companies without approval from the ministry, reports of companies acquiring fake permits for their expatriates, non-commitment of companies to groom Nigerian understudies, recruitment of fewer than required understudies with non-commensurate remunerations, unlawful transfers of approvals between companies and expatriates, default to ensure the training of Nigerian understudies to meet up with the standard of the expatriates.

Violation of the expatriate quota could lead to resentment between nations.

There is also the issue of expatriates staying in the country and in their jobs beyond the maximum of 10 years, as approved in the permit. If care is not taken, these abuses would bring about adverse results of lopsided and imbalanced relationships, foreign domination, and unfavorable development of the host country’s personnel and economy, which eventually creates a dependency syndrome. When the consequences begin to surface, issues of xenophobia, resentment, and many more would be birthed, which the nation, according to the minister, is trying to avoid.

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