The bill, which was sponsored by the Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, earlier passed second reading at the House and was sent to the committee stage.
It returned from the committee stage and the report was adopted by lawmakers, voting to criminalise violations.
The proceedings of the House indicated that the bill was an amendment to the extant Immigration Act, 2015.
The new bill, if endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari, “will restrict the Nigerian Immigration Service from issuing work permit to expatriates in fields where Nigerian citizens have requisite knowledge and skills.”
It will also require concurrence by the Senate before it is forwarded for the mandatory presidential assent.
Offenders risk a fine of N2m, up from the N1m prescribed in the principal Act.
On Sunday, Gbajabiamila’s office confirmed the adoption of the report by House, saying that it was noteworthy that the adoption coincided with the “Executive Order 5 on Local Content” signed by Buhari recently.
“This Immigration Act, 2015 Amendment Bill I (Gbajabiamila) sponsored in July, 2016, preceded the Executive Order made by President Muhammadu Buhari on similar matter on February 5, 2018 and will considerably provide legal teeth to ensure implementation of the presidential order beyond tenure of the current President,” his media aide, Mr. Olanrewaju Smart, quoted the House leader as saying on Sunday.
Gbajabiamila further spoke on how the bill would help to address the unemployment problem in the country.
He said, “This is a further step taken by the legislature to find solutions to unemployment.
“This is in line with the state of emergency, which the House demands from the Federal Government.”
In the report, Section 38 of the extant Act is amended by deleting the existing sub-section (4) (5) (6) and creating new sub-sections to provide strict measures to regulate influx of foreigners in the labour market against the Nigerian interest.
“The bill partly read, “Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, this bill or in any other enactment, no foreign national shall be granted a work permit in Nigeria unless the employer(s) has shown to the Comptroller-General of Immigration that he has sought applications from qualified Nigerians in that same position for which the foreign national/expatriate is being employed and no Nigerian possesses the requisite knowledge or is willing to work in that area of specialisation or interest.”