Immigration reviews policy on non-resident migrants earning income in Nigeria


The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has insisted that non-resident migrants and persons staying for less than 183 days in the country and earn income in Nigeria must pay tax, saying they are taxable in line with Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) 2 (1)(b)(iv).

Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, said this in Abuja, noting that the policy is being reviewed and that the service is also working with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to resolve the tax payable to government by certain categories of visa holders and resident migrants in the context of taxation of non-resident migrants and persons staying for less than 183 days in the country and earn income in Nigeria.

According to him, the collaboration was to ensure taxes are paid even by non-resident persons such as experts that work with International Oil Companies (IOC), Sea farers and Platform workers who are expected to pay at the non-resident Persons Tax Offices (NRPTO) of the FIRS that handles tax matters of non-resident migrants.

He also dismissed claims that the Federal Government is owing a Malaysian company billions of naira for alleged passport booklets production contract. He maintained that passport booklets production is private-sector   financed and that Nigerian government is not owing anybody for the contract.

While explaining that the current scarcity of the travel document was temporary and caused by foreign exchange challenge, Babandede explained that Iris Smart Technology Nigeria Limited who won the contract for supply of the passport booklets and maintenance is purely a Nigerian company, stressing that the Immigration Service has no business with a Malaysian company as reported in a section of the media.

The Immigration boss noted that Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 to cater for requirements and need of migrants intending to travel to Nigeria was to liberalise the visa issuance and process, ease doing business in Nigeria, encourage foreign direct investments and make Nigeria a most preferred destination and hospitality hub.

He said the Visa on Arrival was originally conceived for business purpose and investment, but later extended to others during the COVID-19 lockdown to facilitate movements for essential service workers.

He said the same with Visa on Arrival for Africans and holders of African Union (AU) Passports to come to Nigeria and take their visas at the point of entry, airport specifically, not land or sea borders.

He frowned at the issue of fake marriages between foreigners and Nigerians women carried out to evade payment for resident permit, saying this has been on the increase from 2020 and that the policy would soon be reviewed.

Speaking further on passport scarcity, he said: “I must emphasise that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that production of Nigerian Passport be domesticated.

“We as operational arm of government have complied by making proposal to ease transition and to avoid a drought leading to shortage.

“A lot of Nigerians abroad, especially in places like France, UK, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia and countries that have put stringent measures in place, including locking down till date, experience hardship in renewing their passports and could not obtain a new one both to continue staying with a valid passport and for travelling back to Nigeria.”

“We are working tirelessly with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to resolve the technical issues that are hampering the smooth transition,” he said.

He explained that as some of the affected countries are under lockdown, the Nigerian missions would have to also comply by closing down.

“With the closure of some Missions due to COVID-19 compliant policy of some countries, Nigerians in such countries where Missions are closed and are holding expired passports can board aircraft after applying to the CGI for approval and clearance received they can proceed to the airport for their onward journey to Nigeria.

“The Minister of Interior has magnanimously approved for the purpose of mitigating the problem opening of three front offices at three International Airports namely: Mallam Animu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

“This is to attend to the passport need of Nigerians on arrival with an expired passport before entry into the country,” Babandede said.

 

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