On Thursday, 29 August 2019, the Zone A Headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) announced the commencement of the e-registration exercise for all migrants resident in Lagos State.
This is sequel to the official flag-off of the exercise, which was held at the NIS Headquarters in Abuja, with the commissioning of the Migrant e-Registration Centre, in July 2019.
According to the Assistant Comptroller General of Immigration and the Zonal Coordinator, Mr. M.A Alfa, this development is in line with the ongoing reforms of the NIS aimed at addressing the security challenges currently facing the country. It is also aimed at creating a conducive environment for migrants and facilitating the integration of migration management in Nigeria.
Individuals that are eligible for this exercise are non-citizens of Nigeria who have attained the age of eighteen (18) years and resident in Nigeria or visitors who intend to stay in Nigeria for a period exceeding 90 days. For the purpose of the e-registration, NIS has categorized migrants into 5 categories - Employed Migrants, Students, Self Employed, Spouse of a Nigerian, and Dependants. Requirements for each migrant’s registration depend on if they are ECOWAS nationals, nationals of other African countries or expatriate employees.
Exemption from this mandatory e-migrant registration is granted to individuals who are under the age of 18, those enjoying diplomatic immunity and visitors who intend to stay in Nigeria for less than 90 days.
All regular and irregular migrants are required to register for free within the 6-month grace period of the commencement of the programme. Having launched the scheme on 12 July, 2019, the NIS is looking at completing the registration of migrants on or before 11 January, 2019. Failure to register will be treated by NIS as failure to comply with Section 57 (5) of the Immigration Act 2015 and offenders shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of three years or a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Naira or both.
The NIS has set up two registration centers in Lagos to cater for migrants on the Mainland and those on the Island. Migrants on the Mainland should visit the NIS Zonal headquarters, Ikeja while those on the Island should register at the NIS Lagos Command, Alagbon in Ikoyi. The registration process entails the presentation of the required documents at the Migrant Registration Centre and physical presence of the migrant for biometric capturing. Upon verification of submitted information/documents and data capturing, the migrant will be issued an acknowledgement slip showing enrolment details and confirming the end of the exercise. The registration slip will also serve as a document of identification in Nigeria for migrants.
The Migrants e-Registration scheme has also built in the option of Web-Based Pre-Registration, which is a self-service process wherein the migrant can complete the preliminary registration by following the steps on the portal: www.migrantregistration.immigration.gov.ng. However, the portal is not yet functional. Consequently, the Migrant e-Registration Data Form has to be picked from any of the two designated centers in Lagos, to initiate the registration process.
The NIS may invoke the provisions of Sections 28, 29 of the 2017 Immigration Regulations and Section 56 of the 2015 Immigration Act to enforce compliance. These sections mandate the owner of any premises that accommodate migrants to ensure that such migrant comply with all the relevant regulations. It is, therefore, the duty of such owner to notify the immigration authority where the migrant fails to comply. Where such owners default in their obligations in this respect, they will be liable on conviction to a term of five years imprisonment or a fine of One Million Naira or both.
The importance of implementing an efficient process in migration management cannot be overemphasized. Hopefully, the exercise will result in a robust, credible and comprehensive database for migrants in Nigeria. The NIS should therefore implement appropriate measures to ensure that the e-Registration exercise achieves its objectives in a seamless and cost-effective manner.
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