CEM REPORT, MIGRATION | Nigeria immigration policies is positioned to encourage investment in the country and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), however it is also consider behind global standards.
Hence, the Ministry of Interior has revealed its plan to review the nation’s immigration and visa policy to meet global standards.
The ministry said it would critically examine the nation’s immigration and visa policies with the intention to align policies with international standards which it believes would ease immigration processes for Nigerians in Nigeria and those in the diaspora.
According to the Minister of Interior, Olubumi Tunji-Ojo, the review with the support of relevant stakeholders, would be based on the principle of reciprocity as found in international law.
“We are reviewing our immigration policy, I sincerely believe that the immigration policy of any nation not just Nigeria must be based on the principle of reciprocity as found in international law.”
He explained that the review would create a scenario where any country that grants Nigerians visas on arrival, Nigeria would treat its citizens the same way.
Speaking further he said the policy review would scrutinize immigrants so as not to breach national security. It stressed that Nigeria is not a dumpster and should not be treated as such.
“And I also believe that Nigeria should not be a dumping ground because this is not a dump site.
“I believe that the majority of people who come to Nigeria, come for economic reasons not just for tourism. we need to strengthen our visa regime, if it’s tourism, nothing stops you within two days from making decisions about some of those things. But if you want to come and work, then of course we must, by all means, take our time to do our due diligence security profiling, because as much as we want people to be comfortable we must also not sacrifice national security.
“We must balance both if they are areas, especially in the diaspora where also we can look at the possibility of also seeing what can be done to also help the financial situation”, the minister stated.
According to a BusinessDay report Expatriates make up nearly 70 per cent of immigrants in Nigeria and about 20 per cent of foreigners in Nigeria set up businesses in the country.
Nigeria’s work permit known as the Combined Expatriate Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) granted to approved expatriates cost $2000 is one of the most expensive in the world according to reports.
Olusola Jegede, Managing Partner of Resolution Law Firm opined that the fee creates a cash-and-carry mentality rather than a talent attraction mechanism, especially as there is no strategy to accommodate those who cannot afford CERPAC but want to contribute to the economy.
Recently, the drama in passport application, issuance, and collection has seen a respite as many Nigerians have testified of receiving their passports one month after completing the application and capturing process.
While it is not clear when the review will begin or come into effect, Nigerians can only be hopeful that the review process will do as advertised and won’t take an administrative tenor to see the light.