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UK-Nigeria economic partnership deal


On 13 February 2024, the UK signed a trade partnership with Nigeria to establish a strong £7 billion economic relationship and open new opportunities in the legal, financial services and energy sectors.

Professional mobility

The partnership highlights the UK and Nigeria’s shared aspiration to facilitate each other’s lawyers practising foreign and international law in each other’s jurisdictions. There could be joint ventures or partnerships between firms from both countries. Restrictions could be easing for legal professionals to work across borders.

Law firms and legal professionals should not overlook the need for immigration processes to facilitate such collaborations. Legal professionals will need to apply for the appropriate visa that aligns with the nature and duration of their intended legal activities.

Visa options may include the Visitor visa if professionals come to the UK for short-term business-related activities. The recent Immigration Rules update has extended the list of permitted activities for legal professionals to include advice, appearing in arbitrations, and transactional legal services. New Immigration Rules also allow intra-corporate business visitors to undertake some business activities directly with clients on projects led by an international group’s UK entity.

The partnership could also create specific exchange programs between legal organisations in Nigeria and the UK. Professionals may be able to come to the UK for short-term work experience or training through the Government Authorised Exchange visa (Temporary work).

Business immigration opportunities

Nigerian entrepreneurs may wish to take advantage of the economic partnership to expand their businesses to the UK. Specific immigration routes to accommodate this demand are the ‘Sponsorpreneur’ or (self-sponsorship) route, the Global Talent visa, and the UK Expansion Worker visa.

Changes Immigration can assist Nigerian businesses in expanding to the UK and securing business and work visas.

Backlash to the UK-Nigeria trade deal

On the other hand, Nigerian lawyers have expressed strong resistance to the UK-Nigeria Trade partnership. There have been claims that the cooperation will permit incursion into Nigeria’s legal space. Nigerian lawyers have also drawn attention to the challenges of practising law internationally and the need to consider regulatory frameworks carefully.

The Law Society continues to work closely with the Nigeria Bar Association to improve these relations and exchange best practices.

Publication Date: 8 March 2024


Author avatar
Anna Asumadu
Trainee @ Changes Immigration
+44 (0)77 4552 5573