The immigration act was
recently reviewed/amended and same was signed into law by former president
Goodluck Jonathan before leaving office in 2015. The law (upon signing by the
then president) immediately became effective as the principal law regulating
immigration in Nigeria.
Some of the sections
detailing corporate and individual offences/punishments under the act are
highlighted below:

  • The act expressly prohibits persons’ order
    than citizens of Nigeria from accepting employment anywhere in Nigeria (except
    same is offered by the government) without the consent of the Comptroller
    General of Immigrations (CGI) being first sought and obtained.[1]
  • The act
    goes further to state “no person other
    than a citizen of Nigeria shall on his own account or in partnership with any
    other person, practice a profession or establish or take over any trade or
    business whatsoever or register or take over any company with limited liability
    for any such purpose, with the consent in writing of the Minister”
  • The
    act states that any person desirous of entering Nigeria shall produce to an
    immigration officer consent of the CGI failure of which attracts a fine of One
    Million Naira (N1,000,000) or deportation
    or both as a prohibited immigrant.[3]
  • Where a person formerly exempted from the
    foregoing provisions of the act ceases to be so exempted, he shall be deemed as
    a person seeking entry in to Nigeria for the first time and the foregoing shall
    apply to such a person.
  • The CGI may revoke a permit or reissue it on
    such terms and conditions as he deems fit, failure to comply with the
    directives of the CGI attracts imprisonment for a term of 5 years or a fine of
    Two Million Naira (N2,000, 000) or
  • Any expatriate
    person who fails or neglects to apply for the:
1.  Regularization of his stay in Nigeria
within the stipulated period;
2.  Renewal of his business visa, transit,
visitors pass, or Temporary Work Permit (TWP); or 
3.  Renewal of his residence permit after thirty
(30) days of the expiration of same is guilty of an offence and is liable to
imprisonment for a term of three years or a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Naira
or both.[4]
  • The act expressly prohibits the discharge,
    re-designation and change of employment of an expatriate employee without the
    consent and approval of the CGI first sought and obtained. The implication of
    this is the employer, employee and their dependents (if not Nigerian citizens)
    being deported and business wound up.[5]
  • It is an offence under the act to alter,
    produce or reproduce a travel document.
  • The act also makes provisions for punishments
    for offences that have not been captured by the act, the punishment in such
    cases are imprisonment for a year or a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000), in the case of the offender
    being an agent the punishment shall be imprisonment for ten years or a fine of
    Two Million Naira (N2,000,000).
It is pertinent to state
that the new immigration regime under the new CGI has shown zero tolerance for
issues relating non-compliance, has investigations and invitations of erring
corporations are the order of the day. Despite the foregoing corporations and
individuals alike should always seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer
when immigration issues arise.
Busayo Adedeji is an Associate in the
corporate and commercial, corporate immigration, employment and labour, banking
and corporate finance practice group of Bloomfield Law Practice; and advises multinational
and local clients on matters such as regulatory compliance, trade unions,
labour and employment, dispute resolution etc.

Section 36(1)(a)
Section 36(1)(b)
Section 36(2)
Section 57 (5)
Section 58