IMMIGRATION AUDITS AND COMPLIANCE: A Necessity For Seamless Business Operations And Continuity
There is no doubt that the world is a global village. As the saying goes, “no man is an island” which could be extended to mean that no country deals in isolation. Nigeria like many developing countries encourage foreign direct investments (FDI) to boost its economy and as the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria attracts lots of FDIs within its regions thereby bringing about the influx of foreigners.
The advent of technology and the internet has made global mobility easier. Due to the dearth of knowledge in the country, many organisations now see the need to employ foreign personnel who are more qualified to take on technical roles within their organisations. It is therefore imperative for employers to ensure that they adhere strictly to immigration rules and regulations as they take on more foreign employees.
The implication is that it places a heavy responsibility on the Immigration authority to ensure that the activities of foreigners who are within its borders are effectively monitored. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that foreigners or expatriates who come into the country are in compliance with the Immigration Act and Regulations.
What is an Immigration Audit?
Simply put, an immigration audit is a review of a company’s immigration documents and the verification of all expatriate staff information in order to ensure that they are in compliance with the Immigration Laws and Regulations currently in force in the country. In furtherance of this, the Nigerian Immigration Act granted the Immigration Service powers to enter any premises and carry out searches on all companies who have expatriate staff even without a warrant. These inspections are usually unannounced and impromptu to ensure that no immigration offence has been or is being perpetrated by the company or its expatriate staff. Sometimes, companies are selected for audits based on intelligence or anonymous reports of some form of wrongdoings within the company.
It is advisable for companies to develop an approach to immigration compliance based on their structure and employment needs. Conducting an internal audit of immigration operations is an important process to ensuring that the company is compliant with immigration regulations while still meeting their commercial needs.