NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) is now calling for the enhancement of immigration policies to allow smooth clearance of foreign investors and those intending to work in the country.
The organisation says there have been delays in processing work permits, special passes and Foreigner Registration Cards through the department.
KEPSA chairman Vimal Shah said this has continued to affect multinational companies headquartered or operating in Kenya.
“It is paramount to enhance immigration policies that allow more immigrants to legally enter, stay, and work in Kenya while at the same time protecting jobs for indigenous Kenyans. Though in existence since independence, the policy has lately been misunderstood and subsequently created unwarranted fears,” Shah said.
He was speaking during a consultation meeting between KEPSA and officials from the Directorate of Immigration.
Other issues raised included applications for ‘Class G’ (for investors) work permits, status of permanent residency and citizenship applications, issue of acquiring the special pass which is valid for three months but takes more than one month to process.
Immigration Director Jane Waikenda however said at times the delays are beyond her ministry, as background security checks are required to ensure applicants pose no security concerns, adding that the practice was global.
“My office is working on reducing the backlog by February 16, which was created as a result of the ongoing audit. Thereafter, the new work permits application will take two months and renewals one month,” she assured the business community.
Alien cards, she said, are not received on time most probably due to the procurement procedures or natural delays and that the issue was being addressed.
In addition, she said her department will set up a special working committee that will be meeting twice a week to address the issues raised by members.
“We shall try and give timelines to embrace the ‘kaizen principle’ of continuous improvement, “she said adding that the committee will have a representation from the private sector.
KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki requested the Department of Immigration to share the Immigration Act with KEPSA and asked members to send specific proposals they would like to be implemented by the Department of Immigration.