On the 27th day of February, 2024, the Federal Ministry of Interior issued the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL) Handbook which requires companies with expatriate workers to pay a levy. This EEL is in addition to the already existing immigration requirements which we had earlier highlighted in our previous newsletters.

In this newsletter, we have provided more information on the EEL.

1. What is the EEL and its objectives?

EEL is a mandatory financial contribution to be made by employers who employ expatriate workers. In the EEL Handbook, the government has stated that objectives of the EEL includes:

  1. To promote skill transfer and knowledge sharing from expatriates to local employees.
  2. To balance economic growth and social welfare. The EEL ensures that while the expatriate workers contribute to the development of the Nigerian economy, the rights and opportunities of local employees are not compromised.
  3. To enhance collaboration between public and private sectors.
  4. To address demographic shifts. The EEL encourages businesses to prioritize local retention acquisition and invest in workforce development initiatives while safeguarding Nigeria's long-term economic prosperity.

2. Who is eligible for the EEL?

The EEL handbook provides that the EEL is payable by private-sector industries that employ foreign workers, such as construction, information and communication technology (ICT), telecommunication services, agriculture, oil and gas, banking and finance, maritime and shipping, healthcare, etc. Accredited staff of diplomatic missions and government officials, however, are exempted from the payment of EEL. This exemption shall not apply to dependants of diplomatic missions who are confirmed to be engaged in any employment while resident in Nigeria.

3. How long is an expatriate required to be resident/employed to qualify for the EEL?

To qualify for EEL, an expatriate is required to have been resident/employed for a period of 183 days within a year. This duration is calculated as an aggregate of 183 days in one (1) fiscal year. Also, expatriates on short-term employment/assignments are exempted from the EEL where they are employed for a period less than 183 days within a year.

4. How much is the EEL?

Companies eligible for EEL are required to pay $15,000 for directors and $10,000 for other categories of expatriates. These companies are expected to pay the EEL on an annual basis.

5. What is the deadline for compliance with the EEL requirements?

The deadline for compliance with the EEL is April 15, 2024. Companies are expected to begin the registration for their expatriates working with them, as the effective date of the EEL is March 15, 2024.

6. Are expatriateson cross-border assignment and secondment cover by the EEL?

Yes. Employers of expatriates who work temporarily in a foreign country are liable to pay EEL where such expatriate occupies a quota position in a company operating in Nigeria.

7. What are the reporting and compliance requirements?

Employers are expected to maintain comprehensive records of their expatriate employees, which may include, the employment contract, salary details, work permits, etc. They are also required to provide updated information to the Government agency with specified timelines, such as payroll cycles, employment contract renewals, etc. and any change in expatriate employment conditions. In addition, the employers are required to file all necessary reports within the timeframe set out in the Handbook. In ensuring compliance, it is the responsibility of expatriates to ensure that their personal information and employment details are accurate with the regulatory agency.

8. Which regulatory agency is responsible for the EEL and its functions?

The Nigeria Immigration Service, a government agency that is responsible for controlling persons entering and leaving Nigeria shall in addition to its duties under the Immigration Act, 2015 be responsible for the following:

  1. Determining which expatriates fall within the purview of the EEL;
  2. Enforcing the levy in line with the provisions of the Immigration Act, 2015 and the extant Nigeria Visa Policy; and
  3. Utilizing the data generated from the EEL project to enhance Nigeria's national security and economic interest in line with relevant legal provisions;
  4. dConducting compliance audits to verify the accuracy of reported information;
  5. Crosschecking reported information with data from other sources, such as immigration records, tax filings, etc.

9. What are the offences and penalties?

The offences and penalties covered by the EEL Handbook are:

  1. Failure of a corporate entity to file EEL within 30 days – the corporate entity shall be liable to a fine of three million naira (N3,000,000);
  2. Failure to register employee within 30 days – the entity shall be liable to a fine of three million naira (N3,000,000);
  3. Falsification of information on EEL – the entity shall be liable to a fine of three million naira (N3,000,000). In addition, any person (individual or corporate entity) who makes or causes to be made to an immigration Officer, any return, statement or representation which he knows to be false shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of 5 (five) years of a fine of one million naira (N1,000,000) or both; and
  4. Failure of a corporate entity to renew EEL within 30 days – the entity shall be liable to a fine of three million naira (N3,000,000).


The introduction of payment of EEL has received mixed reactions, with a substantial number of people concerned that this would discourage foreign investments in Nigeria. Notwithstanding the introduction of the EEL and the concerns, Nigeria remains a country with opportunities (in view of its large population and resources) which would benefit investors. To take advantage of these opportunities, we advise that investors wishing to invest in the Nigerian market, carry out sufficient cost-benefits analysis; and engage professionals to carry out due diligence, in order to have a good chance of enjoying favourable returns in the Nigerian market.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.