Kenya tightens work permit document requirements, Kenyan understudy required for Class D work permits

7 Nov 14

KENYA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Kenya’s Department of Immigration Services has released a checklist of documents now required when applying for entry permits.

What does the change mean? The checklist sets out all the requirements, including those of an understudy, with options to enter “yes” or ”no” for each. Class D work permits require the name, contact information and academic records of a Kenyan understudy.

  • Implementation timeframe:This requirement has been in place, but DIS now requires applicants to disclose this information up front as opposed to establishing it during the application process.
  • Visas/permits affected:All Entry Permit categories.
  • Who is affected:All Entry Permits applicants.
  • Impact on processing times:Failure to include all of the documents may delay applications. Documents may not be accepted at the DIS counters if all requested documents are not provided.
  • Business impact:Stricter documentary scrutiny adds to businesses’ administrative burden. Businesses are on notice that Kenyan immigration officials are enforcing policies to “Kenyanize” the workforce.
  • Next steps:Companies applying for work permits should work with their BAL attorney to plan for these new requirements.

Background: The Department of Immigration Services has published a list of documents that must accompany each type of work permit. Notably, according to the list, Class D work permits – the category for foreign workers employed by a specific employer and sponsored by a Kenyan entity – now require that applicants submit the name of a Kenyan understudy and certified copies of his or her academic certificates and full contact details, including address, email and mobile phone number. The Class D permit already requires that the local Kenyan sponsor prove that it was not able to recruit a Kenyan worker for the position the foreign worker is seeking to fill. The new documentary requirement is consistent with a movement toward localizing the labor force and training Kenyan workers for jobs held by foreign nationals. This requirement has been in existence, but is now being enforced.

BAL Analysis: This represents a tightening of requirements, and employers and foreign nationals should anticipate that applications that lack any of the information on the checklist may be rejected. Identifying a Kenyan understudy for Class D permits is highly recommended and will require planning if required in advance of submission of the application.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Kenya. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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