Reps propose N500,000 fine, 2 years jail term for illegal foreign employer, worker

⦁ Prohibit employment of illegal immigrants
⦁ Pass bill on compulsory registration of foreign employers

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the bill which seeks to impose fine of N500,000 and 2 years imprisonment for illegal immigrant under the proposed Labour Act which passed through Third Reading.

According to the Explanatory Memorandum of the bill sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the “bill seeks to amend the Labour Act Cap. L1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to make provisions for the registration of all foreign employers of Labour in Nigeria with a view to further protecting the interests of Nigerian workers.”

This was contained in the recommendations adopted by the House at the Committee of the Whole.

Clause 2 of the bill mandated every employer who is engaged in the industry or ordinarily has a place of business in the area to apply for registration, while every industrial worker under the age of 55 years who is employed in the industry shall be liable to compulsory registration.

Under the new dispensation, the Minister is empowered to make an order requiring any class or classes of industrial workers to whom paragraph (b) of this subsection applies to present themselves for registration in such manner, at such place and within such times as may be specified in the order and the Minister may by order forbid such employers as are mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (or any specified class thereof) to carry on business in the industry or area, as the case may be, unless they are registered accordingly; or to employ industrial workers (or any specified class thereof) in the industry or area, as the case may be, unless the workers are registered accordingly.

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Clause 3 further provides that: “An authorised labour officer, where he is satisfied that an employer who has not applied for registration in pursuance of subsection (2) (a) of this section is a person who ought to have done so, may by notice in writing call upon the employer to apply accordingly.

Clause 5 also provides that: ”The Minister may make regulations for establishing offices for the registration of employers and industrial workers; prescribing forms of application for registration and certificates of registration, and such other forms as may be needed for the purposes of the regulations; providing for the issue of certificates of registration and their replacement if lost or destroyed; prescribing the particulars to be furnished on application for registration and on registration; prescribing the duties of registered persons and others in respect of certificates of registration; and prescribing fees and providing generally for registration under this section.

As provided in the new Section 69 on Registration of Foreign employers of labour, the Minister is empowered to “make regulations for the registration of foreign employers and such regulations made under this section shall provide for the compulsory and free registration of all foreign employers of labour and the mode of registration shall be prescribed in the regulations; prescribe the manner of and conditions for registration and the person by whom and the manner in which the register is to be maintained; prescribe the circumstances in which employers may be struck off the register; as well as prohibit the employment of any person whether Nigeria nationals or nationals of any other country by unregistered employers”.

The Minister is also expected to ”provide for the compulsory and routine inspection of employers to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Act and such other laws protecting the welfare of Nigerian workers and have the reports of every inspection delivered to the Minister with 14 days of completion of the inspection, as well as provide for compulsory and quarterly submission of report of activities and level of compliance to the Minister”.

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