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The Kenya Department of Immigration Services (DIS) recently implemented changes to its work permit application process that are consistent with the country’s move towards tightening its immigration system. Earlier this month, the DIS released a comprehensive checklist of required documents for each type of work permit. Applications that lack the required documents will likely be rejected.

While many of the requirements listed on the checklist are not new, in the past, they were generally not enforced. A good example of this is the understudy requirement for Class D work permits. The checklist indicates that Class D work permit applications (filed by Kenyan companies on behalf of foreign workers employed by a specific employer) must include the name, contact information and certified copies of credentials for the sponsored foreign worker’s Kenyan understudy. The Class D work permit application also requires that the Kenyan sponsor company submit proof that it was not able to find a qualified Kenyan worker for the position. The checklist also indicates that letters from the appropriate ministry must accompany work permit applications involving government contracts, such as energy and mining projects.

Employers should familiarize themselves with the requirements and take care to comply so as to avoid delays in processing. Enforcement of these burdensome requirements demonstrate a push to crack down on the immigration system in an effort to dissuade employers from hiring foreign workers so as to localize the workforce.