Work permit in Kenya

Work permit in Kenya

Kenyan economy has grown very fast in the resent years in all sectors of the economy. This has caused a large number of foreign nationals to migrate into the country for work. putting up stringent legal processes for foreign nationals to gain work in Kenya. So as to secure jobs for sKenyans

The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 (the Act) was enacted to provide for matters relating to citizenship, travel documents and immigration. The Act provides under section 34(1) that the presence in Kenya of a person who is not a citizen of Kenya shall be unlawful unless that person holds a valid work permit, residence permit or pass.

The Act directs occupation, trade, business or profession without being authorized to do so is an offence, employing a foreign national whom the employer knows or has reasonable cause to believe is not authorized to work in Kenya is also an offence.

Duties and Obligations of Employers

Section 45(1) of the Act provides that no person shall employ a foreign national who entered Kenya illegally or whose status does not authorize that person to engage in employment. Until the employee obtains a work permit

the Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012 (the Regulations) empower the Director of Immigration Services (the Director) to inspect places of employment and businesses with or without prior notice for the purpose of verifying information contained in a work permit or special pass application and monitoring compliance with the terms and conditions contained in permits and passes issued.

In the case of an employee ceasing to work for the employer for any reason, the employer specified in the work permit is required to report in writing to the Director within fifteen (15) days that the holder of a permit has ceased to engage in the employment in respect of which the permit was issued and any employer who fails to do so commits an offence

General requirements

  • Dully filled and signed application Form 3.
  • Covering letter from employer/self/organization depending on the class (as applicable)
  • Copies of the National Passport.
  • Two colored Passport size photographs.

  • Application fees are only payable upon receipt of an approval notification.
  • Dully completed Entry Permit applications should be submitted at immigration Aliens counter 9 located at Nyayo House Ground floor (south wing) for acknowledgement.
  • Applications for renewal of entry permits should be done three months prior to expiry date.

Types of Permits There are nine (9) classes under which a work permit may be issued, namely:

  • Class A is for a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in prospecting for minerals or mining in Kenya who has obtained a prospecting or mining right or license and has a minimum of USD 100,000 for that purpose
  • Class B applies to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in agriculture or animal husbandry in Kenya and who has all permissions necessary to acquire an interest in land of sufficient size and suitability for that purpose and sufficient capital or resources at his disposal for that purpose
  • Class C is for members of a prescribed profession who intend to practise that profession, whether in partnership or alone, in Kenya. The applicant must possess the prescribed qualification, have sufficient capital or resources for that purpose and be registered with a professional body, association or institute in his own country. The prescribed professions include medical practitioners, dentists, advocates, surveyors, estate agents, valuers and land agents, architects and quantity surveyors, pharmacists, veterinary surgeons, engineers, nurses, physiotherapists, accountants, chartered secretaries, actuaries, scientists and information technology experts
  • Class D relates to persons who are offered specific employment by a specific employer and who have skills or qualifications that are not available in Kenya. The processing fee is USD 100 and the issuance fee is USD 2,000. This permit tends to be more difficult to obtain due to the need to show that local expertise is not available, a requirement which stems from a ministerial policy aimed at preventing companies from employing foreign nationals for work that Kenyans can perform
  • Class F applies to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in a specific manufacture in Kenya who has obtained a license, registration or other permission that may be necessary for that purpose and who has at least USD 100,000 at his disposal for that purpose
  • Class G applies to persons who wish to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in a specific trade, business, consultancy or profession in Kenya (other than a prescribed profession, which are covered under Class C)
  • Class I is reserved for persons who are members of institutions registered under the Societies Act (Cap. 108) and who are engaged as missionaries, members of companies limited by guarantee, and members of trusts registered under the Trustee Act (Cap. 167)
  • Class K is designed for ordinary residents who are over thirty-five (35) years and have funds or an assured annual income of at least USD 24,000 or its equivalent in Kenya Shillings and undertake not to accept employment (paid or unpaid) or engage in any income generating activity of any kind without a permit of the relevant class. The income must be derived from sources outside of Kenya which will be remitted to Kenya or from a pension or annuity payable from sources in Kenya
  • Class M is for persons who have been granted refugee status in Kenya and the only supporting document required is a recommendation letter from the Department of Refugee Affairs. A person to whom a Class M work permit has been issued and the spouse of such person may engage in any occupation, trade, business or profession

Special Pass

A person who is applying for a work permit or wishes to enter or remain in Kenya to temporarily to conduct any business, trade or profession may apply to an immigration officer in Form 32 for a special pass in accordance with the Regulations. Special passes are often applied for to perform a specific task within a specified period of time, for example installation and repair of machines, auditing of accounts, training and other specialist jobs for which Kenya lacks expertise.

The special pass will be issued for a period not exceeding six (6) months once the issuance fee of USD150 per month has been paid and will allow the permit holder to re-enter Kenya at any time during the period of validity of the pass. The special pass may be renewed for a further six (6) months upon payment of the prescribed fees.