News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

Typewriters a necessity for business in Nigeria

Despite the advances of modern technology, it appears there’s still a need for the old typewriter if you want to do business in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.Besides the usual requirements for obtaining a work visa for Nigeria, such as passport, letters of reference and other necessities, a bureaucratic twist stipulates that the work visa application form, known as the IMM/22, needs to be filled in with a typewriter.

The requirement meant that a national visa service company – which asked not to be named as they do not want to damage relations with the Consulate – was last week forced to hunt down one of the outdated machines in order to process clients’ applications.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said a manager at the visa company.

He said he has had to process four Nigerian work visas for clients this week and, having difficulty finding a working typewriter, spent money downloading a software programme that changed font to resemble that used by a mechanical typewriter in order to insert the necessary information onto the Nigerian Consulate’s forms.

But he said the Nigerian Consulate would not accept it.

“They said there was no impression on the paper, like a typewriter would make,” he said.

As a result the Nigerian work visa forms have to be printed out, fed into a typewriter and the information typed into the spaces provided.

“And you know, if you make a mistake, you can’t just delete, you have to start again. And it has to be in quadruplicate. And they don’t accept carbon copies because then they are not considered original.”

He said the Consulate had given no reason as to why they had created the rule.

On Tuesday an official at the Nigerian Consulate, who would only give her name as Abby, confirmed the rule, and said it had been in place for about a year.

“That is what the office wants. That is the rule for this office. The form may be used to process the residence permit in Nigeria so maybe that’s why it needs to be neat and typed out,” she said.

Further queries as to why the forms needed to be filled in using a typewriter were simply met with statement that it “is the rule”.

An official contacted at the Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce, Toyin Cameron, said: “This is the first I have heard about this.” – Fadela Slamdien and Steve Kretzmann, West Cape News

Tags: Nigerian consulate, visas

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