• Increased Enforcement Efforts, Procedural Changes Lead to Delays
  • November 24, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Kenya Department of Immigration Services (DIS) recently began to more strictly enforce local understudy requirements for work permits and implemented changes to permit application procedures. As a result, employers are experiencing application processing delays and an increase in permit denials.

    Companies employing foreign workers in Kenya are generally required to provide each foreign worker with a Kenyan understudy who is trained to take the foreign worker's position after departure. The DIS is more closely examining employers' skills transfer and succession plans, the qualifications and training schedules for understudies, and the understudies' employment contracts, qualification certificates and telephone contacts.

    The changes to work permit application procedures include:

    • All individuals or agencies submitting work permit applications must include copies of the national identification/passport and employee identification cards of the individuals delivering the documents to the immigration authorities.
    • Approval notifications and permits will now be mailed to the address provided by the employer, and may no longer be collected at the immigration office.
    • Work permit applications involving the government as a party must be cleared by the appropriate ministry. This is more likely to be enforced for projects for the energy, mining and information and broadcasting ministries, among others.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Although the increased enforcement of immigration laws may cause delays initially, eventually the work permit application process should be streamlined and more predictable as a result. Employers should continue to ensure compliance with all work permit rules and procedures.