8,000 foreigners face deportation over work permit

Gordon Kihalangwa
Immigration Permanent Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa. FILE PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

About 8,000 foreign workers risk being deported after they failed to present themselves for the just concluded vetting of work permit holders.

Immigration Permanent Secretary (PS) Gordon Kihalangwa said about 26,552 of the 43,550 holders of work permits had turned up at the Department of Immigration Services for verification of their details by the Saturday deadline.

Mr Kihalangwa, who was speaking Monday at the Kenya School of Government, said the ministry will move with speed to deport foreigners who have been living and working in the country illegally.

“We will not give foreigners jobs that can be done by locals. It’s an offence for employers to hire foreigners with illegal work permits, we must deport them,” he said.

In May, the government started a 60-day operation to identify and deport illegal immigrants.

During the crackdown, which came to a close two days ago, the immigration department created a digital register of legal foreign workers to provide them with electronic identification cards.

Though verification was only possible for the 34,550 holders of official work permits, the exercise was also expected to help weed out the more than 100,000 foreigners thought to be handling jobs that can be done by locals.

“About 26,552 foreigners walked to Nyayo House to confirm their details during the verification exercise which came to a close last Saturday. There is a variation (in numbers) from what we have in the data base,” said Mr Kihalangwa.