, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – Foreigners living in Kenya illegally will be required to pay for their tickets back home once Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi proposes amendments to removing the burden from taxpayers.
Currently, the CS says Kenya spends Sh360 million to deport illegal foreigners, an amount likely to increase in a year’s time if all loopholes are not sealed in the ongoing verification of work permits and fresh registration by the Immigration Department.
“How can a country of our size be spending money like that?” the CS wondered.
“Our projections are if we do not do our work well, and this exercise is not successful, in the next financial year we will need close to Sh500 million to deport illegal people. That is why I am sending an amendment to Parliament, to allow us, to force you to work for your ticket when we get a hold of you.”
The CS was speaking on Tuesday morning during a meeting with various stakeholders led by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, set to clarify on the ongoing 60 day-exercise targeting over 100,000 foreigners living in the country illegally.
Some stakeholders wanted the Immigration Department to be devolved such that they can second officials to say the American Chamber of Commerce to issue the work permits.
“I am reluctant about that. Why do you want to transfer problem,” CS Matiangi queried.
Other than to ensure foreigners remit tax to the Kenya Revenue Authority by digitizing their personal information, the government wants to ensure the country is not hosting people likely to be a security threat.
Over 2000 work permits have been verified so far.
Those that are found with fake documents are forwarded to the CID, “so that we can track the processing from the beginning to end so that we can detect our own officials who fail to notice such mistakes or who are accomplices to the commission of the crime.”
A digital record consisting personal details will be established after the exercise.
All foreigners will be issued with a card that has security features and their personal information.
– Categories of work permits –
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.