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.
Foreigners can successfully and peacefully work and reside in Kenya, as long as a work and residence permit has been obtained. A work or residence permit is issued to allow a person to lawfully work and live in a particular country. The Ministry of Immigration in the Republic of Kenya issues the work/ residence permits to Non-Kenyans wishing to engage in employment in Kenya whether in gainful employment or voluntary service.
The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, No. 12 of 2011 provides for matters relating to immigration such as the issuance of work/residence permits, and this is specifically provided under Section 40 of the Act. Foreigners engaging in any work in Kenya without a permit are committing an offense and can lead to immediate deportation and a ban from ever returning to Kenya. Application for work permit is done online via the ministry of immigration website.
An application form provided on the platform needs to be duly filled. Depending on the category or class of permit, the following need to be provided as you fill the relevant application form. This applies to all types of permits:
Cover letter from employer/self/organization; depending on the class
Copies of the National Passport
Two recent colored passport size photographs
Application fees upon receipt of approval of the application
The duly completed application forms are then submitted.
Work permits are issued for a period of two years and so applications for renewal herein ought to be done three months prior to the expiry date. This is for purposes of giving the department ample time to properly verify the application so that the renewal can happen systematically. If employment or work comes to an end before the expiry of the work permit, the person will be required to surrender the work permit and the foreigner’s certificate to the immigration offices and then go back to his/her home country.
There are various classes of permits as provided for under Section 36(1), as read with the seventh schedule of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012 as listed below: –
Permit Class A: (for prospecting and mining)
This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in prospecting for minerals or mining in Kenya.
Class B: (Agriculture and Animal husbandry)
This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in the business of agriculture or animal husbandry in Kenya.
Class C: (Prescribed profession)
Permit (Class C) Application
This permit is issued to a person who is a member of a prescribed profession who intends to practice that profession, whether alone or in partnership, in Kenya.
This permit is issued to a person who is offered specific employment by a specific employer, the government of Kenya or any other person or authority under the control of the Government or an approved technical aid scheme under the United Nations Organization or some other approved Agency (not being an exempted person under section 34 (3), who is in possession of skills or qualifications that are not available in Kenya and whose engagement in that employment will be of benefit to Kenya.
Class F:(Specific manufacturing)
This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in a specific manufacture in Kenya.
Class G:(Specific trade, business or consultancy)
This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in a specific trade, business, consultancy or profession (other than a prescribed profession) in Kenya.
Class I: (Approved religious or charitable activities)
This permit is issued to a person who is a member of an institution registered under the Society’s Act who is engaged as a missionary, Member of a company limited by guarantee, Member of a trust registered under the Trustees Act and is approved by the Government of Kenya, and whose presence in Kenya will be of benefit to Kenya.
Class K:(Ordinary residents)
This permit is issued to a person who Is not less that thirty-five years of age; and has in his own right and at his full and free disposition an assured annual income of not less than the prescribed amount that is derived from sources other than any such employment, occupation, trade, business or profession as is referred to in the description of any of the classes specified in this Schedule.
This permit is issued to a person who has been granted refugee status in Kenya in accordance with the refugee law of Kenya and any spouse of such a refugee who intends to take up employment or engage in a specific occupation, trade, business or profession.
This permit is issued any person or class or description of persons, exempted by the cabinet secretary from provisions of obtaining a work permit by notice in the gazette. (Section 34 (3)(g) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011).
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