Government gives foreign workers 60 days to regularise permits
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has issued a 60-day ultimatum for all foreigners working in Kenya to regularise their work permits as the government strives to tighten its immigration process.
The CS said unemployment levels in the country are at an all time high and Kenyans need to be cushioned from those who take jobs that they can do themselves.
“Give me one reason why we need to give a permit to someone coming to be an accountant in Kenya or in the case of civil society, why give a permit to a programme officer with the number of graduates who have masters degrees,” posed Dr. Matiang’i.
The Cabinet Secretary said the government, within the next 60 days, will issue electronic work permit cards to any foreign worker in Kenya with special consideration being given to missionary doctors, foreign professors hired in local universities.
“We have not cleaned up our systems on Immigration. Our official records show there are 34,000 foreigners working in Kenya. You and I know that is not true, the real figure is there are probably over 100,000. Means there are people doing jobs that Kenyans can do, coming through the backdoor,” he said.
Speaking during a meeting with the Parliamentary Security Committee in Mombasa, Matiang’i said after the 60 day window elapses, police will launch a swoop to arrest and deport anyone who is here illegally.
“We are going to tighten the process of work permits. We want to clean this once and for all and have a digital register that can be searched any time on who is supposed to be in Kenya,” he said.
During the meeting, Mr. Matiang’i also revealed that the government will consolidate all identification documents into one to reduce the inconvenience of having to carry many cards.
The single card will bear all personal data such as ID and driving license number as well as information from the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).