Andreas has been asked by the most renowned corporate immigration book to contribute chapters on Africa. We opted for South Africa and Kenya as two of the five main markets. Here you will find our contribution towards the book THE CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW REVIEW – EDITION 7 – which is a Business-focused legal analysis and insight in the most significant jurisdictions worldwide:
I INTRODUCTION TO THE IMMIGRATION FRAMEWORK
Kenya is situated in eastern Africa and its capital and largest city is Nairobi, which is a regional commercial hub. Kenya is surrounded by Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Somalia. It is a founding member of the East African Community, which will be explained in detail below. Its currency is the Kenyan shilling and its current population is 44.35 million.
Following the schedule of the Kenyan Constitution of 2010, the distribution of functions between the national government and the county governments designated immigration and citizenship to the national government.
Kenya’s services sector, which contributes 61 per cent to the GDP, is dominated by tourism, which is now Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee. The GDP has had a constant growth of above 5 per cent during the last five years, mostly because of the expansions in transport, construction and telecommunications. These growth rates are supported by a large pool of foreign workers, most of them English-speaking highly skilled professionals. The country’s economy is on the rise and was ranked 92 in the 2017 World Bank’s ease of doing business rating, up from 113 in 2016 among 190 countries.
i Legislation and policy
All foreigners who want to enter legally or transit through Kenya must first obtain a Kenyan visa from a Kenyan representation abroad and furthermore be in the possession of a valid passport or other travel documents.
To make this procedure as convenient as possible, the government introduced its ‘E-Visa Service’ in July 2015, the e-visa process became compulsory from 1 September 2015 onwards. Foreigners can easily apply online through the eVisa section for the purposes of business, family or tourist visits. Furthermore, eBusiness allows individuals owning business to access government business services online to apply for business licences, permits and registrations offered by different government departments.
The Kenyan immigration system in general is organised in categories and does not contain a quota or scoring system, which is used in many other immigration systems, such as the United Kingdom or Nigeria.
The immigration system in Kenya works with permits and passes with respect to the legal sojourn of foreigners in the country. The key document for the issuance of these documents is the Kenyan Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011 (the Act of 2011) of Laws of Kenya as the framework of national migration policy and the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations 2012 (the KCI Regulations of 2012).
The second legal document is the Kenya Vision 2030 as the government’s national planning strategy which is implemented through a series of five-year medium-term plans from 2008 to 2030.
Besides these, there are several related regulations that affect immigration control in Kenya, such as the Refugees Act, the Security Laws Amendment Act, the Prevention, Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons and Affected Communities Act, the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act, and the Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service Act.