The Department of Immigration in Kenya has launched a new online platform – called the Electronic Foreign Nationals Service (eFNS) – for work, family and student immigration applications. The eFNS will be rolled out on a pilot basis for some services and is likely to be mandatory for immigration applications in the near future.
The long-term work permit requires a local legal entity to sponsor the foreign national. This work authorisation is granted to any skilled and experienced category of professional or technical worker and permits work for up to two years. Renewals are available as long as the total cumulative period of validity does not exceed five years. With effect from 1 February 2016, children under the age of 16 years accompanying their parents to Kenya are exempted from paying visa fees. Do not submit an application or make any visa fees payment for a child under the age of 16 years. Note that all work permit applicants will be subject to background security checks.
There are nine different classes of work permits available in Kenya, every class belongs to a specific group of persons and sectors and covers non-specific employment, volunteer work, and private investors, to name but a few. It is important to know that work permits in Kenya are only granted to foreigners if the company can prove a Kenyan citizen cannot adequately fill the position. Kenya is well-known for protecting its workforce and the stipulation can be difficult to prove. Expats creating their own business in Kenya have to secure licences and demonstrate earning potential in order to receive a work and business permit.