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‘New immigration policies will boost economic growth’

By Bertram Nwannekanma
22 October 2015   |   1:29 am
THE new immigration policies introduced by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) will enable Nigeria become a strong player in global economy.

IMMIGRATION---CopyTHE new immigration policies introduced by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) will enable Nigeria become a strong player in global economy.

Deputy Comptroller of Immigration, Segun Adegoke disclosed this at a public lecture organized in Lagos by the Immigration Lawyers Forum of the Ikeja branch of The Nigeria Bar Association.

The immigration boss, who spoke on the topic: “Immigration challenges: the Role of lawyers”, said the new policies such as the new visa policy, reforms and abolition of re-entry visa to legally resident expatriates in Nigeria has eased the cost of doing business in Nigeria and in accordance with best practice.

According to him, the new visa regime is a plethora of visa regimes aimed ay increasing the inflow of foreign direct investment, encourage rapid industrialisation, employment generation, boosting of tourism as well as attracting innovator and highly skilled professionals.

Adegoke pointed out the existence of a special class of visa for issuance to investors who imports and invest a minimum level of capital into Nigeria in a verifiable new business for a minimum period of five years, which is a slight innovation to the permanent unit review quota holders.

“In the new system, an investor, who imports a certain threshold of capital, will be entitled to receives a permanent residency status as part of an automatic expatriate quota allocation as well as allow for issuance of temporary work permit amongst other benefits”. He said.

The immigration boss also pointed out a unique innovation in form of permanent residence permits for Nigerians in Diaspora who, due to the immigration policy of their host country have lost their Nigerian citizenship but are desirous of returning to Nigeria.

This window of opportunity, the immigration boss said, is to increase the inflow of remittances, which available statistics show as the second largest source of foreign exchange inflow after oil export receipts in Nigeria.

According to him, Immigration Act 2015 passed on May 25, 2015 by former president Goodluck Jonathan provides an extensive and updated legal framework for the control and regulation of expatriates employment in Nigeria with provisions for offences applicable penalties.

Some of the penalties, he said, include the non renewal of expatriate quota positions within the stipulated time or non submission of monthly returns by a corporate body which attract a fine of three million naira, while the officer responsible for the commission of the offence will be liable on conviction to a fine of one million naira or to imprisonment of one year or both.

The new act, he said also provides for the establishment of immigration courts at recognized entry ports for quick resolution of immigration matters.

“Nigeria Immigration service has a duty to control entry and exit of all persons entering and leaving Nigeria in all the recognized gateways as well as ensure the control and administration of foreigners’ economic activities with a view to enhancing Nigeria’s economic productivity and growth.

T”hey are also charged with the administration, issuance and control of travel document, including standard, official and diplomatic passports to Nigerians and provide advisory role to government on citizenship and other migration related matters as member of the advisory committee on Nigerian Citizenship as well as administration and implementation of Nigeria challenges”: he added.