, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 12 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has reiterated that the government will not issue work permits to foreigners wishing to engage in small-scale trade, saying even those found trading in Gikomba market in Nairobi will be deported.
Speaking during the launch of the e-passport centre in Nakuru on Wednesday, the CS pointed out that any foreigner who unlawfully engages in trade will be deported.
“When we started this mop-up, we were getting people in Meru selling rice there. We were also picking up some other people from some countries I do not want to mention because of our diplomatic relations. You get surprised that someone has come from so far off to come sell his wares here in Kenya as far as Isiolo,” Matiangi stated.
His sentiments came against the backdrop of reports that Chinese citizens had opened second-hand cloth stalls and hawking goods at the Gikomba market.
Matiangi said the Immigration Department does not issue work permits to foreigners engaging in the trading of second-hand clothes.
“We are not issuing work permits to traders because we do not do that as a government. We don’t have a classification of work permits called traders. And any people who are in markets and so forth and are trying to trade, we will deport them,” he said.
“The six foreign traders in Nairobi who were seen in a certain market will be deported and by Thursday night, they will be eating their supper in their countries.”
He said immigration officials will be clear with the deportees that Kenya does not permit the involvement of foreigners in small-scale trade.
The CS said strict vetting regulations had been put in place to consider work permit verification request from countries of origin.
“By now, given our recent reforms, we have the strictest work permit regimes in this region. We stopped issuing work permits in Kenya. Anyone who wants a work permit will have to apply for it from wherever they are in their countries and they will only come here when they have been issued with it,” he stressed.
Last year, Matiangi warned that only foreigners whose applications for work permits have been processed will be allowed to come into the country for work.
The Interior CS also urged county commissioners and regional commanders to be vigilant and strict.
The Director of Immigration Services, issues work permits under the provisions of section 40 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011.
Categories considered under the law include prospecting, farming, business, professional employment, missionary activities and those seeking residence in the country.
Work and residence permits are issued 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.