How Foreigners Can Get Work Permits in Kenya
Want to work in Kenya as an expat? Here’s how you go about getting a work permit in Kenya according to the Department of Immigration Services:
First, you need to identify what kind of work permit you’ll need from this list:
- Class A: For anyone entering the prospecting and mining industries.
- Class B: For individuals interested in agriculture or animal husbandry.
- Class C: For anyone who is a member of a prescribed profession who will practice it alone or in a partnership in Kenya.
- Class D: This permit is meant for people offered specific employment with an employer, the Kenyan government, any authority under the Kenyan government, the United Nations (U.N.), or another approved agency. Anyone applying for a class D Kenya work permit must have skills and qualifications not available in the country.
- Class F: For people who want to engage in specific manufacturing activities.
- Class G: For anyone who wants to enter a certain trade, business, consultancy role, or profession.
- Class I: For individuals undertaking religious or charitable activities.
- Class K: For ordinary residents at least 35 years old with an annual income of a certain amount from sources other than employment.
- Class M: This permit is for anyone granted refugee status in the country.
It is important to note that A foreign company that wishes to get a work permit for one of its employees must first set up its Kenyan subsidiary/branch/representative office. This Kenyan entity may then apply for the work permit.
An applicant may make an application directly or choose an agent such as a law firm or consultancy. However, do note that direct applications take a longer time.
How to go about it:
Now that you’ve Identified the type of work permit most suitable for you, here’s how to go about applying for it:
First, you’ll need to register with the Kenya electronic Foreign Nationals Services (eFNS) portal . Here’s where you’ll conduct all your business. Proceed to next step.
Completion of the application
Foreign nationals wishing to be employed by a Kenyan entity are required to apply for a Kenyan work permit. The different classes will depend on the specific circumstances of the applicant. Generally, the success rate depends on whether skilled labour for the position is available locally i.e. employers are required to justify employment of the foreign national instead of a local.
All work permits are generally valid for 2 years, with renewals permitted for an extra 2 years at a time. The number of renewals is unlimited. Renewals need to be done at least 3 months prior to expiry.
While each work permit may have specific documentation requirements, the following are all required:
- Duly filled and signed application Form 3
- Covering letter from employer/self/organisation depending on the class (as applicable)
- Copies of the foreign national’s passport
- Two coloured Passport size photographs
- Application form fee
Submission to the Ministry of Immigration
Once the application is submitted at the Ministry of Immigration, it shall be presented to a committee for approval. This process may take between two and six months.
Please note that these factors are considered by the committee when deciding whether to approve or reject an application:
- The amount of investment and its impact on Kenya’s economy, which is determined by the auditors’ report or bank statement
- The number of jobs that will be created for Kenyans, which is determined by the application letter submitted by the applicant’s agent
- The nationality of the applicant. An applicant has a higher chance of approval of his application if his or her country of origin has a stronger economy than that of Kenya and low criminal statistics and security threats.
If the application is successful, the Ministry will issue a Notification of Approval will be issued. If it is rejected, a Notification of Rejection will be issued. This Notification of Approval is valid for ninety days pending payment of the government fees.
The entry permit is then endorsed on the applicant’s passport.
Registration as an alien
All foreigners who remain in Kenya for more than 3 months (90 days) are required to register as an alien and obtain an alien registration card from the Immigration Department.
The application must be accompanied by:
1.Two passport –size photographs (either coloured or black and white and taken not more than 12 months earlier) of the applicant;
2.A valid passport or some other official document establishing identity and nationality; and
3.The prescribed fee