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Foreigners to remain out of the country until permit or pass is issued

Immigration Update

Further to our update here, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government ("CS") issued a directive on Monday 10th  December, 2018 that foreign nationals shall not be allowed to remain in or come into the country prior to the issuance of their permits or passes. This is not a new law, but merely an enforcement of (Section 40 (3) (a) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act which provides that the “Director shall issue a permit of the required class to a person who is not a prohibited immigrant or inadmissible person, who has made an application in the prescribed manner before entry into Kenya”).

The CS further directed that any foreign national found in the country without a valid permit or pass will be arrested and removed from the country and only be allowed to return once their permit or pass is issued. This directive also applies to persons whose applications are pending and/or in progress at the Department of Immigration Services ("DIS") and are currently in the country.

The Cabinet Secretary also reiterated that work permits will not be issued in respect of jobs which the local nationals are qualified in.

With respect to in-country visa extensions, the CS has directed for issuance of visa extensions for a limited duration of up to 1 month, with no guarantee of a further extension. This is aimed at ensuring that foreigners do not remain in the country for prolonged periods without the relevant permit or pass.

Impact on business: Very High

  • Employers should ensure that all the foreigners in their employment remain outside Kenya until their permits or passes have been issued.
Upon the expiry of a permit or pass, the foreign national will be required to leave the country immediately until the permit or pass is renewed and issued. Further, those foreigners with applications at the DIS should also leave the country until their permits or passes are issued. 
  • We expect increased surveillance at all points of entry and in the country and frequent personal checks for documentation from all foreigners. We recommend that all foreigners carry their passports with valid endorsements or foreigner certificates (alien cards) at all times.
  • We also expect more stringent vetting of applications and for approvals to be given for positions where it is clearly demonstrated that there is no local skill-set available or that the sponsoring entity has taken credible steps to train Kenyans.

We shall continue to update you as we receive information from the DIS.