What is the new enforcement measure? The Department of Immigration Service, or DIS, has begun stricter enforcement of a localization process for companies employing foreign workers.

What does it mean? Businesses will have to go to greater lengths to justify foreign assignments and should now create programs to transition skills to local workers.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring foreign workers.
  • Impact on processing times: The localization process for work permit applications is adding two to three weeks to processing.
  • Business impact: The extra vetting will limit foreign assignments to those approved by the DIS.
  • Next steps: Companies should have a plan in place to justify hiring foreign labor, and to train Kenyan workers for transfer of skills locally.

Background: Among several changes at the Kenyan DIS, foreign work permit applications are undergoing stricter vetting to protect local workers.

We reported the extra scrutiny by the Kenyanization Office of DIS in November.

That process, now in full effect, is lengthening work permit processing by two to three weeks. The Kenyanization Office must be satisfied that the position requires skills that cannot be filled locally, that the foreign employee is qualified and that the employer has followed the recommended 1:3 ratio of foreign workers to Kenyans.

BAL Analysis: The extra localization efforts and scrutiny of foreign assignments requires that companies put a program in place to meet stricter standards for each foreign employee and train Kenyans to transfer skills locally as soon as possible.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Kenya. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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