Kenya woos Japan investors with offer of special passes

Immigration counter
Immigration counter at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Japanese investors are allowed to use special passes to set up firms in Kenya pending approval of their work permits in a sweetheart deal meant to woo more investors from the Asian nation.

Kenya usually requires investors to have work permits before they set shop in its territory.

Esther Njau, an Immigration official stationed at Kenya Investment Authority’s one-stop-shop centre said under the policy launched a few weeks ago, Japanese investors are getting their passes within five days.

Kenya will, however, continue to demand that investors also apply for a work permit to allow them conduct their businesses in the country without any hindrances.

“After realising that we may delay the investors who want to start working immediately while awaiting for a work permit, the department resolved to issue special passes to Japanese investors,” Ms Njau said in Nairobi on Thursday at a meeting that included officials from Kenya and Japan.


“The passes are being processed in five days to allow the investor to start working immediately. It is as good as a work permit,” she said.

Ms Njau noted that a special Japanese cases desk has been set up at the one-stop-shop centre to fast track applications by Japanese investors. The process of issuing the document, she added, has now been automated.

“Under the automated application, applicant applies for work permits and they can track the from home,” she said.