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United States announces changes to work permit visas that could affect Nigerians

The US has announced changes to its H1B Visas also known as Work Permits that it will be issuing to highly skilled workers.

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Nigeria set to lose on latest Bilateral Air Service Agreements, United States announces changes to work permit visas that could affect Nigerians

The United States has announced new set of rules limiting the number of H-1B Visas also known as Work Permits that it will be issuing to highly skilled workers, including Nigerians, seeking to work in the United States.  The new rules take effect this week.

This was disclosed by the United States Departments of Labor and Homeland Security on Tuesday making it even harder for applicants to get one of the most sought-after visas in the world. According to reports, the new rules will reduce the length of visas that it will issue, increase the wages of those who get the visas, and limit the types of university degrees that can qualify for the visa.

READ: PenCom should pay 50% of workers’ pension at retirement – TUC

Several reports monitored by Nairametrics suggest the new rules could reduce the number of Visa Applications by as much as one-third. This was also confirmed by Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Deputy Secretary of the  Departments of Labor and Homeland Security (DHS).

What they are saying: According to the US Officials, the move became necessary to protect Americans from losing jobs to highly skilled immigrants especially now that the economy is in bad shape due to the effect of the Covid-19 virus.

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  • “With millions of Americans looking for work, as the economy continues its recovery, immediate action is needed to guard against the risk lower-cost foreign labour can pose to the wellbeing of US workers. America’s immigration laws should put American workers first.” Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, “Under the new rule, the required wage level for entry-level workers would rise to the 45th percentile of their profession’s distribution, from the current requirement of the 17th percentile. The requirement for the highest-skilled workers would rise to the 95th percentile, from the 67th percentile.”
  • Last July Donald Trump told Fox News that he wanted Americans to take the jobs that would otherwise go to those granted the visas. “We have plenty of people looking for jobs,” he told Fox. “I think it’s going to make a lot of people very happy. And it’s common sense.”

READ: Emirates Airlines banned from operating in Nigeria

According to US Immigration law, a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas are allowed for each government fiscal year. This number includes 65,000 new H-1B visas available for overseas workers in specialty (professional) level occupations with at least a bachelor’s degree, with an additional 20,000 visas available for those specialty workers with an advanced degree from a US academic institution.

Why this matters: Nigerians make up a large chunk of immigrants applying for H-1B visas meaning most could end up being asked to leave the country or seek other alternatives to remain in the US.

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  • Nigerians seeking approval for the visas will also hope that their employers increase their salaries in line with expectations or risk being denied the visas.
  • This piles pressure on organisations looking to cut costs to remain competitive making applicants vulnerable to being let go.
  • Nigerians makeup one of the most skilled people living in the United States and some believe the Trump Administration views them as a threat to US Jobs.
  • In January, the Trump administration expanded visa bans on six countries: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

ICYMI: Back in June, US President Donald Trump signed an order temporarily halting access to several employment-based visas, and issuance of green cards for the rest of the year.

Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Stanley

    October 7, 2020 at 11:15 am

    I agree with Trump that it is common sense to protect the interests of their citizens. Let affected countries like Nigeria go and build their economies in a sustainable manner. For Nigeria, this has to be done from the scratch and not in the usual fire brigade manner of talking and throwing intervention funds at economic units without genuine efforts by the government to understand and resolve the real issues around the high rate of business failures and exits in the economy. For instance, the problems of power, good roads, multiple taxation and harassment of businesses have been with us for decades and no amount of money given to MSMEs would erase the implications of these problems for business survival, expansion and competitiveness.

    • Mike

      October 14, 2020 at 5:03 am

      Yea..its getting tougher in the west so i guess these trend will increase and continue. Globally its becoming tougher by the year so it makes sense to control the market and protect local citizens. My advice to diasporas is to plan and prepare hard for the future and explore opportunities in emerging markets. It doesn’t mean it must be in your country of origin

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Hospitality & Travel

Arik, Dana Airlines to resume flight operations after curfew

Dana Air and Arik airlines to resume flight operations from Lagos airport tomorrow.

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Arik Air resumes flight schedules to Asaba after one-year break, Proposed Arik and Aero merger to form National carrier disapproved  

Dana Air and Arik airlines are set to resume flight operations from Lagos airport on Saturday, as the Lagos State government relaxed the 72-hour curfew imposed on the state.

The curfew was imposed by the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday to forestall further breakdown of law and order, following series of EndSARS protests.

READ: SAHCO, Arik Air renew contract to boost services 

Communications Manager, Arik Air, Adebanji Ola, in a statement issued on Friday, explained that flights across the country would operate as scheduled, and passengers were advised to arrive at the airport early to have ample time to complete boarding formalities.

He said, “Customers who could not use their tickets during the period of the curfew can modify such tickets at no extra cost.

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“The management of Arik Air thanks customers for their understanding while the cancellation of flights lasted.”

Also, spokesperson for Dana Air, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa announced that the airline was pleased to inform its passengers that the company would resume full flight operations from Saturday, the 24th of October 2020.

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READ: Chinese automobile maker, GAC Motors to set up assembly plant in Lagos 

He said, “The tickets purchased for flights within the period of the curfew remains valid and can be rescheduled for free by sending an email to us.”

Back story: Nairametrics reported earlier on Friday that the Lagos State Government had eased the 72-hour curfew which was earlier imposed on Tuesday, October 2020, to run from 6 pm to 8 am.

READ: Lagos to support owners of looted, vandalised stores

This was disclosed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, October 23, during a press briefing at State House Marina, after a tour of the state to inspect the level of destruction of public and private infrastructure during the #EndSARS protests that later turned violent.

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This means residents can go out between 8 am and 6 pm, with effect from Saturday, October 24, 2020).

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Hospitality & Travel

Nigeria set to lose on latest Bilateral Air Service Agreements

Experts have explained why Nigeria is at the losing end of yet another Bilateral Air Space Agreement.

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Nigeria set to lose on latest Bilateral Air Service Agreements, United States announces changes to work permit visas that could affect Nigerians

It is no longer news that Nigeria signed Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with the United States, India, Morocco and Rwanda. However, who benefits more from the agreements has been a topical discussion amongst Nigerian stakeholders. Some of them, who spoke with Nairametrics in separate interviews, argued that the development would favour the partner countries more than Nigeria.

They argued that Nigeria has signed this deal with over 80 countries across the world, but has turned out to be disadvantageous to Nigeria. Most of the agreements are only beneficial to the countries and their foreign carriers, without any reciprocal benefits to Nigeria. This is allegedly due to the failure of the Nigerian representatives to put Nigeria’s interest first at the BASA negotiating table.

READ: CBN to sanction exporters who default on export proceed number

In most cases, Nigeria does not really benefit from the deal, especially with no National carrier or a domestic airline that has the required equipment to compete with their foreign counterparts.

Managing Director, Starburst Aviation Limited, Capt. David Olubadewo, who was once Nigeria’s youngest pilot, admitted that he has not seen the agreements. However, he told Nairametrics that the nation does not have the capacity/equipment to compete favourably with the countries it signed the deal with.

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READ: FG to inject over N198 billion on capital projects in power sector in 2021

Capt. Olubadewo said, “In most cases, BASA entails specific agreement between two partners, where parties involved will agree on exchange of flights. It could be 10 flights weekly from Country A and same from the other Country.

“So, if US for instance, has done 10 flights to Nigeria as agreed and Nigeria has not, it will not affect US in anyway.”

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In his own case, Muyiwa Lucas, another stakeholder in the industry, claimed that the aim of the international carriers and their countries is to make sure that indigenous carriers do not rise to compete with them on those lucrative routes like Lagos-London, Abuja-London, Lagos-Dubai, Lagos-Paris, Lagos-Amsterdam, and Lagos-Johannesburg.

READ: Nigeria, India to conclude Bilateral Air Services Agreement deal

In an interview with Nairametrics, he said that the partners are always quick to choose a favourable destination in Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja), while they dictate to Nigeria the airport to land its aircrafts in their countries.

Lucas said, “Nigerian flights are only allowed to drop passengers at Gatwick, which handled 46.1 million passengers in 2018. They don’t allow such in Heathrow airport, which is London’s main hub and also one of the world’s busiest airports with 80.1 million passengers in 2018.

“Arik Air was stopped from operating from Abuja to London, unless it paid for slot allocation, which cost a huge amount of money.

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READ: Nigeria, Ethiopia sign visa waiver agreement

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“But, while British Airways was and is still flying to Abuja, enjoying grandfather rights; Arik Air was paying for slots and when the Nigerian airline deemed that operation unprofitable, it stopped, leaving only British Airways to be operating to Abuja from London with minimum load factor of 85%.”

Lucas argued that while some of the countries introduced clauses to jeopardise Nigerian airlines operation to their countries, Nigeria rarely retaliated in the spirit of diplomatic principle of reciprocity.

READ: Just in: FG bars Air France, KLM and other foreign airlines

However, Pranjal Pande, an Indian Aviation Expert, sees the development from a different angle.

According to him, Nigeria is home to a substantial Indian expatriate population, and India sees thousands of yearly visitors from Nigeria but noted that the lack of direct flights has meant passengers fly mostly with Middle East carriers.

Pande said, “Popular routes from Delhi and Mumbai to Lagos are over 4,100 nautical miles, putting them out of the range of the current generation of narrowbody aircraft. This means that, from India, only Vistara and Air India, the only airlines with widebodies, could start flights to Nigeria. Neither airline has signalled intentions of doing so soon.

READ: Nigeria @ 60: The Aviation sector and its travails

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“It’s most likely that Air Peace will be the first to start flights to India. However, the timing remains up in the air due to the current crisis.”

Backstory: On October 6, 2020, Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government announced the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with the United States, India, Morocco and Rwanda.

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A copy of the agreement showed that it was signed in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 30, 2020.

The disclosure was made by the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, through a tweet on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

What they are saying

The Minister said, “The agreement is the instruments of ratification of the bilateral air service agreement between Nigeria and USA, India, Morocco, as well as Rwanda.”

He added that Nigeria will take advantage of the agreement to strengthen economic, social and cultural ties with the US.

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Hospitality & Travel

Transport fare for motorcycle “Okada” more than doubled in 2020

Data from the NBS reveals the average fare paid by commuters for a journey by motorcycle more than doubled year on year.

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Transport fare for motorcycle "Okada" more than doubled in 2020, Lagos State bans Gokada, ORide, MaxNG, others from 15 local governments 

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals the average fare paid by commuters for a journey by motorcycle per drop more than doubled year on year (September 2020 vs 2019 respectively).

This was contained in the recently released data on Transport fare for September 2020 in Nigeria. This covers bus journey within the city per drop, bus journey intercity, state route, charge per person, airfare charge for specified routes single journey, journey by motorcycle (Okada) per drop, and waterway passenger transport.

READ: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector contracts for 5th consecutive month – CBN 

Motorcycle Fares

  • According to the report, the average fare paid by commuters for the journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 10.47% MOM and by 111.11% YOY to N255.51 in September 2020 from N231.29 in August 2020.
  • The states with the highest journey fare by motorcycle per drop were Niger (N1,467.49), Kogi (N362.47), and Rivers (N345.80); while states with the lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop were Adamawa (N76.55), Katsina (N100.84), and Kebbi (N125.60).
  • Similarly, the average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city increased by 7.92% MOM and by 63.88% YOY to N309.73 in September 2020 from N286.99 in August 2020.

READ: These 3 states are the most expensive to travel from in Nigeria

READ: NBS discloses States with highest bus fares in Nigeria (Full List)

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Bus Fares

The states with the highest bus journey fare within the city were Zamfara (N579.84), Bauchi (N492.14), and Cross River (N416.32); while states with the lowest bus journey fare within the city were Abia (N188.50), Kebbi (N192.48), and Borno (N200.80).

  • The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity increased by 0.36% MOM and by 24.30% YOY to N2,022.70 in September 2020 from N2,015.50 in August 2020.
  • The states with the highest bus journey fare intercity were Abuja FCT (N4,315.22), Lagos (N3,073.25), and Sokoto (N3,000.00); while states with the lowest bus journey fare within the city were Kwara (N223.45), Benue (N274.64), and Ondo (N291.07).

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Air Travel

Average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey decreased by -4.59% MOM and increased by 20.60% YOY to N36,884.59 in September 2020 from N38,659.86 in August 2020.

  • The states with the highest airfare were Lagos (N39,750.00), Rivers (N39,520.00), and Anambra (N38,950.00); while states with the lowest airfare were Akwa Ibom (N32,500.00), Sokoto (N33,700.00), and Benue (N35,000.00).
  • The average fare paid by passengers for waterway passenger transport increased by 7.06% MOM and by 34.13% YOY to N734.26 in September 2020 from N685.82 in August 2020.
  • The states with the highest fare by waterway passenger transport were Bayelsa (N2,250.23), Rivers (N2,200.64), and Delta (N2,150.30); while states with the lowest fare by waterway passenger transport were Borno (N200.48), Gombe (N264.29), and Abuja FCT (N294.10).

READ: Nigeria’s inflation rate hits 13.71% as food prices soar

What this means: According to the NBS, transportation makes up 6.4% of consumption expenditure of millions of naira next only to food at over 50%. Transport is also a key input cost for determining food prices and conducting business in the country contributing to the inflation rate. A combination of bad roads. poor infrastructure, exchange rate devaluation, removal of fuel subsidies, and a general rise in prices of goods and services have impacted transportation costs across the country.

 

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