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|Expatriates, Some Semi-skilled, Take Over Even Menial Jobs From Nigerians by aloyemeka1: 12:40am On Dec 24, 2011|
[size=14pt]Expatriates, some semi-skilled, take over even menial jobs from Nigerians[/size]
By David Ogah, Dele Fanimo, Wole Shadare, Yetunde Ebosele, Roseline Okere, Adeyemi Adepetun (Lagos) and Florence Lawarence (Abuja)
THEY are ubiquitous. It is hard to miss them. At construction sites, factories, auto sales outlets, oil and gas installations, the aviation sector, telecommunications among others, there are foreigners in the garb of expatriates performing tasks average, semi-skilled Nigerians can handle.
The unchecked influx of foreigners into the country under the guise of expatriate with skills lacking in Nigeria, has degenerated to the level of abuse, to the extent of aggravating unemployment with its attendant social crisis.
In the midst of staggering statistics from Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which puts unemployment rate at 23.9 per cent, foreign nationals, especially from Asia have continued to invade the country under the guise of being expatriates.
Today, you find clocking clerks, sales executives, site supervisors, foremen, fitters, tillers, welders, cooks, in businesses parading themselves as expatriates.
Indeed, to show that the issue of expatriate quota abuse is of great concern, Labour and Productivity Minister, Chief Emeka Wogu, last year, said that part of the condition for the award of contracts should be the employment of local human resources.
The minister had said: "The era when contractors got their labour force outside of the country is over as government will now ensure that Nigerians are employed in strategic places in companies that are executing contracts worth billions of naira in the country."
Unknown to the minister then, his pronouncement came at an appropriate time to stave off an impending protest by a non-governmental organisation - Shelter Watch Initiative, against some multinational firms known to be violating the expatriate quota law.
But this did not stop the organisation from petitioning President Goodluck Jonathan, urging him to halt the unrestricted influx of foreigners under the guise of being expatriates with its concomitant security implication.
For the avoidance of doubts, the country is not bereft of laws to regulate the activities of these foreigners and ensure that only qualified foreigners are allowed into the country, but like all the other existing laws, implementation has remained the sore point.
The Immigration Act clearly states that expatriate quota can only be granted to a firm for the recruitment of foreigners if the skill required is not available in the country.
It further states that where such approval is granted, subject to the above stated condition, among others, a Nigerian is expected to under-study the expatriate for a specified period, for eventual take over of the expatriate¢s position.
In the guideline posted on Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) website, it is stated that ²the citizenship and business department of the Nigerian Immigration Service has responsibility for administering and enforcing the provisions of the Immigration Act, 1963 as it relates to the establishment of business in Nigeria and the employment of expatriates." In other words, the department is entrusted principally with the following responsibilities:
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