Federal Government restricts issuance of visa to foreign engineers

President Muhammadu Buhari at a recent event in Abuja, stated that the Federal Government (FG) has commenced restriction of issuance of visa to foreigners seeking to take up engineering roles in Nigeria. This restriction is being enforced by the Federal Ministry of Interior (FMI) following the action points outlined in the recently signed Executive Order 5 for ‘Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology’ (the Order). Please see link to our initial alert on the Order.

The Order, primarily addressed to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), is focused at promoting development of local content in science, engineering and technology contracts in Nigeria. The Order provides pre-conditions for award of contracts by the MDAs such as preference for local resources, Nigerian companies and employees; accreditation of professionals by appropriate Nigerian regulatory authorities; as well as domestication of foreign professional certificate, amongst others.

We expect this development to result in increased employment of Nigerian engineers, and increased number of indigenous companies/firms awarded contracts by the FG. In addition, this implies that the grant/renewal of expatriate quota positions, particularly for engineering positions, will undergo greater scrutiny and more rigorous justification before the FMI grants approval.

Despite the laudable aspirations of the Order, there are concerns bordering on:

  • competence of Nigerian engineers to deliver the required quality of service required under such contracts given the specialised nature of some of the activities
  • technical capacity of indigenous companies to undertake performance of such contracts.

It is expected that FG will put in place appropriate measures to close the gap between engineers trained in Nigeria and those trained abroad, to enable the country achieve the desired results.

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