United Arab Emirates: Consular process to be required for some employment visa applicants

Employment visa (entry permit) applicants from certain countries will soon have to process their immigration applications through designated UAE consular service centres in their home country before entering the UAE, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

Nigeria: New registration requirements introduced for oil and gas sector companies

Oil and gas sector companies seeking work permits on or after June 6, 2016 must provide evidence of registration with the Nigerian Content and Development Management Board (NCDMB), and those involved in engineering projects must register with the Council for the Regulations of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), according to new requirements issued by the Nigerian Immigration authorities.

Nigeria: Status verification exercise requires personal appearance by company representative

Between March 14 and March 31, 2016, companies that employ foreign workers under Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) status must present documentation to one of the CERPAC Production Centres, according to an announcement by the Nigeria Immigration Service.

Employers’ representatives must bring the following documents to one of the CERPAC Production Centres on behalf of each foreign worker:

Non-ECOWAS visitors staying over 56 days subject to extension fee in Nigeria

On or after September 22, 2015, all non-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) nationals holding entry visas, including business visitors and tourists, must pay an extension fee if they stay past 56 days cumulatively in a twelve-month period in Nigeria, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Interior.  Those staying beyond 56 days cumulatively in a twelve-month period will be considered overstayers and are subject to a penalty if they do not pay the appropriate extension fee.  Temporary Work Permit holders might be included in this group depending on the interpretation and discretion of immigration authorities.

Non-ECOWAS visitors staying past 56 days cumulatively in a twelve-month period are subject to the following extension fees:

  • Those staying for a period not exceeding 90 days: USD $200;
  • Those staying for a period exceeding 90 days but not exceeding 180 days: USD $1,000; and
  • Those staying for a period exceeding 180 days but not exceeding 365 days: USD $2,000.

The ECOWAS nations are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

Non-ECOWAS visitors who overstay past 56 days cumulatively in a twelve-month period without paying the appropriate extension fee are subject to a fine 100% times their prescribed extension fee.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Because this change in policy and its implementation details are not yet clear, affected non-ECOWAS nationals should contact their immigration professional to discuss timing and other details of the extension fee.

Onsite immigration documentation inspections temporarily suspended in Nigeria

The new Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), who was recently appointed by the Nigerian president, has temporarily suspended the inspection of immigration documents by NIS officials.

The decision comes in light of complaints of internal departmental conflict and potentially unethical inspections.  Inspections are expected to resume more rigorously as soon as the internal issues have been addressed.   

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers should maintain full immigration compliance during the temporary suspension of inspections and should report any unscheduled onsite visits by officials.

Comptroller General of Immigration suspension to delay visa and permit processing in Nigeria

Due to the suspension of the Comptroller General of Immigration on August 21, 2015 by the Ministry of Interior, foreign nationals awaiting temporary work permit approvals and seeking consular services at Nigerian consular posts abroad may experience delays.  Additionally, due to reports of unauthorized visa issuance, business and visitor visa applicants from restricted areas, such as areas in the Middle East, will likely be subject to heightened scrutiny during the application process, which may also cause visa processing delays.

The Federal Government has appointed the most Senior Deputy Comptroller General of Immigration on an interim basis.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers and foreign nationals should note that there may be visa and permit processing delays at Nigerian consular posts around the world. Foreign nationals seeking visas and permits to Nigeria should file their applications early to avoid additional delays.


Courtesy of Fragomen.