Economy

KenInvest wants clear work permit rules for investors

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KenInvest managing director Moses Ikiara. PHOTO | FILE

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Summary

  • The Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) wants clear timelines set for approval of work permits for foreign investors to enable better planning for firms setting up locally.
  • KenInvest says a time-bound work permit approval framework is part of a draft legal change the investment promotion agency is writing for consideration by the Interior ministry and the Treasury.

The Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) wants clear timelines set for approval of work permits for foreign investors to enable better planning for firms setting up locally.

KenInvest says a time-bound work permit approval framework is part of a draft legal change the investment promotion agency is writing for consideration by the Interior ministry and the Treasury.

“We have to streamline the process of getting work permits because that’s one of the areas which has got a bit of delay and uncertainty (for foreign investors). So we will do a paper, then take it to the CSs to sponsor it through the Cabinet,” said managing director Moses Ikiara.

Kenya’s immigration laws allow investors with proof of $100,000 (Sh10.7 million) investment cash and certificate of company registration and registration, among other requirements, to obtain annual work permits under Class G at slightly more than Sh100,000.

The approval process largely takes two to three months on average, but could take longer as it involves national security risk checks by the National Intelligence Service or less when one is well-connected, insiders say.

Fragomen Kenya Ltd — the local unit of the New York-headquartered global immigration consultancy — says although the country’s work permit approval process has eased since going online, there is a need for legal timelines for investors to know whether or not an application has been approved.

Fragomen lead consultant George Mucee, an ex-top official at Immigration Department, says Kenya should join countries such as Ghana and Rwanda in streamlining work permits in the race to tap FDIs.