Kenya: Foreigners to Get Work Permits in Country of Origin, Not Nairobi - Matiangi

A group of tourists take photos at the iconic Tusks along Moi Avenue in Mombasa's CBD.
11 December 2018

Nairobi — Foreigners seeking to work in the Kenya will be required to apply for a work permit while in their country of origin unlike before when they would be issued with one at the Immigration Department in Nairobi.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi says this is a move meant to curb mischief by foreigners who come to the country on a tourist visa but end up extending their stay as they apply for a work permit.


"We have made some mistakes in the past, which have caused some a little bit of embarrassment to us, now it is the time to clean up and organise ourselves so that we can protect and secure our country," he asserted.

"We want all our visitors to come through the door and not through the window. The work permit regime has totally changed and it will remain that way."

Mid this year, the government asked all foreigners to undergo fresh registration, in a bid to nab those who are illegally in the country.

Following the two month initiative, the government is in the process of establishing a digital record, that will help authorities track foreigners working in the country and more so those who may engage in criminal activities.

"We are not against immigrants. But we want right visitors who obey and respect our country," he said.

A work permit is a document issued by the Director of Immigration Services under the provisions of section 40 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011, to enable foreign national (s) enter Kenya and engage in trade, prospecting, farming, business, professional employment, missionary activities or even reside in Kenya.

The director issues work/residence permits upon the recommendation of the Permit Determination Committee, an inter-ministerial Committee appointed by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government under section 40(1) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011.

The Interior Cabinet Secretary was speaking on Tuesday after launching the Kenya Institute of Immigration Studies at the University of Nairobi.

Even as the government moves to streamline the Immigration Department from a troubled past laced with corruption and incompetence, the CS directed all officers to get postgraduate diploma certificate in Immigration studies before getting any promotion.

Those directed to undergo the training are officers of the rank of a Principal Immigration Officer upwards.

"The idea to offer a postgraduate diploma certificate in Immigration studies is part of the 2016 departmental strategic plan for human resource development that we have worked on as government," he said.

"Immigration officers are the front desk of our country and there is a link between the work they do and safety of our country."

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