What is the change? Kenya’s Information Technology Department has set up a special desk at the Ministry of Interior to help shepherd work permit applications through the process.

What does the change mean? The internal move is intended to help improve efficiency in work permit processing for foreign technology sector workers.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign information technology workers.
  • Impact on processing times: The processing timelines should improve with intervention by this special desk, but exact timelines are not known.
  • Business impact: Companies in the technology sector can take this as a positive sign that Kenya is paying extra attention to attract these workers.
  • Next steps: Where applicable, a copy of the work permit applications may be forwarded to the special desk of the Ministry of Interior, which follows up with the Department of Immigration Services.  

Background: This does not change the application process; work permit applications for foreign tech workers are still filed at the Department of Immigration Services (DIS). Employers should also send a copy of the application together with the official filing receipt and supporting documentation to the Ministry of Interior. This approach is appropriate in certain cases based on business needs and mainly for companies in the information and communication and technology (ICT) sector that require their expats to get into the country as soon as possible. While the DIS retains ultimate authority over adjudication of the work permit application, the Ministry can have a positive influence on an application.

BAL Analysis: The extra emphasis on helping foreign technology workers obtain work permits will benefit employers in that sector, especially when an application has stalled or has encountered a hitch in the normal process or where an employee is needed urgently.

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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