Foreigners seeking fresh work permits realise they were duped before
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – A section of foreigners rushing to register afresh as directed by the government were on Wednesday in for a rude shock, after they discovered they have all along been in the country illegally.
By Wednesday morning, immigration officers had nabbed 10 foreigners who had fake documents.
Majority had used cartels, who are usually easy to spot outside Nyayo House, which host the Immigration Headquarters, to process their papers and make payments.
“The receipts were all fake. Making their entire documents illegal,” an immigration officer involved in the process told Capital FM News.
A Chinese national who was also caught off guard said, “the boss gave me the papers.”
They were questioned at the Immigration offices, in a bid to trace how they got fake documentation and the people who facilitated that.
“Some officials inside here could have been involved,” the officer said.
More people, staying in the country illegally are expected to be nabbed as the 60-day initiative continues.
About 34,000 foreigners, legally here, are being targeted in the exercise that will see their information digitized, but the government says thousands others are living in the country illegally.
Interior Ministry Spokesperson Mwenda Njoka told Capital FM News that those who will be found illegally in the country will be deported.
Corrupt immigration officials who will also be found to have colluded with cartels to issue wrong papers, he said, will not be spared.
Those with correct documents and have paid the fees, “will not be required to make another payment. The immigration officers will only capture their information that will be fed to the foreigner’s database.”
A major security operation to flush out those without a work permit will kick off after the 60 days.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi on Monday cautioned that some foreigners staying in the country illegally are a security threat.
He revealed that the taxpayer loses Sh360 million every year, to deport those in the country illegally.
“We can do more with the Sh360 million. Is it fair? I personally would like to discourage to this idea of spending public resources to deport people,” the CS asserted.
“We can improve some of our border posts in the country using the money.”
He said the government will be proposing amendments to see those nabbed in the country illegally pay for their ticket back to their home countries.
Those who cannot afford, he said will be made to work for it while in jail.
“The Government remains committed to ensure that the highest immigration standards are enforced in order to safeguard the interest of Kenyans against foreign workers operating in the country illegally,” the CS stated.
A digital record consisting personal details will be established after the exercise.
All foreigners will be issued with a card that has security features and their personal information.
A section of foreigners who spoke to Capital News-beat have welcomed digitization of their personal information, but are calling on the Government to add more registration centres.
“How will they serve 34,000 people in one tent, for 60 days?” one of the foreigners who spoke to Capital FM News wondered.
Another welcomed the move saying, “now that the information is being digitised, it means I will not have to undergo through this next time. This is good.”
– Categories of Work Permits –
A Work Permit is a document issued by the Director of Immigration Services, under the provisions of section 40 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011, to enable foreign national (s) enter Kenya and engage in trade, prospecting, farming, business, professional employment, missionary activities or even reside in Kenya.
The Director issues Work/Residence permits 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.
By JOSEPH MURAYA