What is the change? Tanzanian President John Magufuli has given almost 10,000 civil servants until May 15 to resign if they wish to avoid legal action after a nationwide audit of public sector workers’ academic credentials uncovered a high level of forged school certificates.

What does the change mean? Employers and foreign nationals seeking work and residence permits should expect longer processing times as a result of an anticipated reduction in staff at the Tanzanian Immigration Department.

  • Implementation time frame: May 15 and thereafter.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals seeking work permits and residence permits.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing is likely to be delayed for immigration services because of the anticipated resignations.
  • Business impact: Businesses may need to adjust timelines to account for delays.

Background: The Tanzanian government investigation into fraudulent qualifications in the public sector uncovered a number of instances of actual and potential fraud, including the use of relatives’ school certificates, the same qualification being used by different people and more than 11,500 government employees with incomplete or unverifiable academic records. “These people occupied government positions but had no qualifications … they robbed us just like other criminals,” said Magufuli, according to numerous media reports. Magufuli urged the national press to publish the names of everyone on the list. Officials convicted of fraud could face up to seven years in jail.

The 9,932 people named in the report account for more than 2 percent of the total estimated number of civil servants in Tanzania. The internal audit focused solely on high school qualifications and did not examine university degree certificates. The number of civil servants dismissed could, therefore, end up being substantially higher should tertiary level qualifications be investigated next.

BAL Analysis: Businesses should note the potential immigration processing delays from mid-May and plan accordingly.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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