Matiang’i gives expatriates 60 days to renew work permits

A sample of a foreigner's work permit. []

The Interior Ministry has issued a 60-day ultimatum to all foreigners working in Kenya to update their details in a move geared towards cracking down on expatriates working in Kenya illegally.

The ministry requires all foreigners working in Kenya to verify their details at Nyayo House using valid work permit, an official endorsement on the passport, Alien ID and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) PIN.

Those who fail to do so will be liable to jail term upon the lapse of the 60-day ultimatum issued by the state.

“The verification exercise, which will be ongoing for the next 60 days, shall be used to rid the country of illegal and undocumented workers by according them an opportunity to standardize their papers. Those who fail to do so within this period will be jailed,” said Interior secretary Fred Matiang’I according to Business Daily.

He added that the government is bent on ensuring that the highest immigration standards are attained and enforced.

The Interior CS noted that Kenyan citizens’ interest must be safeguarded which is why all expatriates illegally working in Kenya or holding jobs that can be held by Kenyans will be weeded out.

The Department of Immigration Services is preparing to issue foreigners with foolproof electronic cards as work permits to reduce the paperwork and to improve efficiency.

An electronic system will give the government the statistics on the number and categories of permits issued to foreigners working locally.

Last year, the department issued 8,366 new permits up from 5,851 in 2016 and 7,683 in 2015 and 11,360 in 2012 when stringent immigration policies were introduced.

In 2012, the ministry sought for $2,000 (Sh206,000) per month from any foreigner seeking a working permit.

Deloitte East Africa Tax Partner Fred Omondi said this move will by and large; curb misuse of business visas which is an authorized work permit document.

“The verification process will mean that expatriates working in Kenya should ensure they have the proper work documents, and would be viewed as a measure to mitigate the misuse of business visas as work authorization documents,” said Omondi.