The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate abuse of expatriate quota by telecommunications equipment vendors and service providers in the country. This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Bello Shinkafi (PDP-Zamfara) on the floor of the House on Tuesday.
Speaking on the motion, Shinkafi said that the Immigration Act, 2015 and the Immigration Service Regulations, 2017 were the principal laws governing expatriates employment in Nigeria. He added that the principal regulatory bodies were the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the Ministry of Interior.
He stated that the law empowered NIS to from time to time, issue entry permits and expatriate quota to foreigners who intend to work in Nigeria for specifically approved jobs. He added that this was for a specific period with a view to training Nigerians and transferring the skills to them during their period of employment.
The lawmaker said that the expatriate quota was to guide against indiscriminate employment of expatriates where there were qualified Nigerians who could fit into the positions.
He said that expatriate quota could be granted for an initial period of three years and renewed further for a period of two years subject to a total life span of 10 years.
Shinkafi said that he was aware of a clause in the expatriate law which provided for two Nigerians to understudy an expatriate, to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology.
He, however, stated that some foreign companies have taken advantage of such clause in active connivance with the NIS and other agencies to import as many of their nationals as possible.
He added that this was often done albeit illegally and in gross disregard for the law.
He said that the practice of expatriate quota abuse was initially restricted to the oil and gas sector but has been extended to the telecommunications sector in which there was a surfeit of local skills.
“Many of the expatriates still retain their employments after their permits had expired and not been renewed as required by law.
” The expatriates enjoy unimaginable pay and privileges while their Nigerian counterparts are paid less and treated with disdain in their own country.
“Many competent Nigerians lose their jobs and the country loses multi-million dollars annually.
The house, however, mandated the Committees on Telecommunications and Interior to investigate the alleged expatriate quota abuse in the Telecommunications Sector and report back within six weeks