The Immigration department will begin a crackdown against foreigners working in the country illegally. Those with illegal permits will be deported.
More than 100,000 foreigners are targeted in the countrywide operation, which is scheduled to be launched by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i Monday, May 21, 2018.
The CS is expected to ask foreigners with work permits to surrender them to the Immigration Department for authentication, after which they will be replaced with fool-proof electronic cards.
“The launch is part of a process to clean up the register. The number of bona fide foreigners with working permits is far much less compared to the number of those working in the country,” said Interior spokesman Mwenda Njoka.
Government records show that it has issued 34,000 work permits to foreigners. However, hundreds of thousands of foreigners have acquired permits through unscrupulous means.
“Why should we have a foreigner operating a kiosk or barbershop in Kitengela? How many Kenyans are qualified to do those jobs?” Mr Njoka asked.
The government restricts the issuance of work permits to prevent foreigners from taking up jobs that Kenyans can do.
The Nation learnt that some immigrants pay more than Sh100,000 for an illegal permit.
Dr Matiang’i first put illegal immigrants on notice in April, when he met the Parliamentary Committee on National Administration and Security in Mombasa.
“The clean-up of the register will also clear the backlog and curb the corruption and all other irregularities from the system,” Mr Njoka added.
Earlier the CS gave foreigners 60 days to regularise their work permits.
After the launch, a digital register will replace the current database of foreigners.
Dr Matiang’i is concerned that work permits were issued for positions deemed to be reserved for Kenyans.
“Give me one reason why we need to give a permit to someone coming to be an accountant in Kenya or in the case of civil society, why give a permit to a programme officer with the number of graduates who have masters degrees,” he posed during the earlier meeting with MPs.