Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has ordered the deportation of four Chinese nationals engaging in business activities at Gikomba market in Nairobi.
Dr Matiang’i, who spoke in Nakuru County on Wednesday during the opening of an e-passport immigration centre, said they were in the country illegally.
The minister noted that all foreigners working as small scale traders in Kenya will be deported.
“I direct security authorities to deport the traders because they hold illegal work permits," he said.
"We do not have a classification of foreign traders coming into the country to conduct trade or hawk. I have already directed that those in Gikomba be escorted to the airport tomorrow to ensure they take supper in their homes."
Dr Matiang'i vouched for the government’s current work permit policy, describing it as “the strictest in Kenya’s history”.
”Whoever wants to apply for a work permit should do it from their respective countries, not in Kenya,” he said.
During the launch of the immigration centre, the CS revealed that at least one million Kenyans have obtained the new generation e-passports ahead of the August 31 deadline.
He said 1.5 million Kenyans still have old generation passports.
The centre at the Rift Valley Regional Headquarters is one of four new local immigration centres, the others being in Kisii, Eldoret and Embu.
The government opened another six in the diaspora to ease congestion in the process of acquiring e-passports before the deadline.
“I urge Kenyans to transition to the e-passports by September. Let us not do things in the last minute," Dr Matiang'i said.
"The government is progressively decentralising immigration services to ease congestion and reduce long queues at the Nyayo House headquarters in Nairobi, and complement service delivery at the regions to facilitate transition from the old passports and bring services closer to people."
The diaspora centres are in Washington DC (United States), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Berlin (Germany), Paris (France), Pretoria (South Africa) and London (United Kingdom).
The CS said President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Immigration department to open the 10 centres to facilitate the exercise.
Dr Matiang’i said the centres will serve at least 1,500 applicants daily.
“We adopted an incremental and systems-wide implementation approach. In the short to medium term, we expect to put in place customised administrative systems to support regions, counties and foreign missions," he said.
"In the long-term, the programme will encompass monitoring and evaluation of immigration systems and the general efficiency and effectiveness in delivering these services."
The switch from the old passports, following the announcement in August 2017, has been a nightmare for Kenyans both in the country and abroad.
Kenya decided to upgrade the document by incorporating more security features. It eliminates the need for an East African passport.