1. The Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL) is a government-mandated contribution imposed on employers who hire expatriate workers in Nigeria.

2. The EEL aims to balance economic growth, social equity, and workforce development by promoting skill transfer, protecting local labour markets, enhancing public-private collaboration, and addressing demographic shifts.

3. The EEL applies to expatriate workers who occupy quota positions or are engaged by means of temporary work permits, and who stay or work in Nigeria for 183 days or more within a year.

4. The EEL does not apply to accredited staff of diplomatic missions, government officials, international agencies, and their dependants unless they are engaged in any employment in Nigeria.

5. The EEL rates are 15, 000 USD for directors and 10, 000 USD for other categories of expatriates.

6. The EEL is payable on an annual basis, and the payment deadline is the last day of February of the following year.

7. The EEL payment is made through an online portal, and the payment receipt serves as a prerequisite for the issuance or renewal of work or residence permits.

8. The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is responsible for verifying the information and documents submitted by employers and expatriates, and for enforcing the EEL compliance.

9. Employers are required to maintain comprehensive records, report expatriate employment details, notify changes, and adhere to filing deadlines.

10. Employers can access resources, guidelines, calculators, and help desks for understanding and complying with the EEL regulations.

Some thoughts:

The objective of driving local employment and developing local capacity is good. However, companies need to do an impact assessment as the financial implications could be material as it would cost N16m to N24m (using N1,600/1 USD) to employ each expatriate either as an employee or as a contractor on projects.

There could also be legal and constitutional questions as EEL would generate revenue at the federal level from expatriates who are typically taxable at the state, even though the levy is imposed on employers. It could also have the unintended consequence of reducing the attractiveness of employing expatriates, leading to lower numbers of expats, who are highly paid, and a reduction in state revenues.

It is unclear whether EEL would further exacerbate the struggles experienced by companies that have no sources of foreign currency in sectors such as manufacturing, local services, and telecommunications, which are already challenged in retaining their expat workforce due to the effects of devaluation.

Reciprocation from other countries cannot be ruled out, even if the risk is low. The government needs to look at other migration issues such as 'japa' and unlocking FX diaspora remittances to boost liquidity.

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