KENYA: Tightening of Requirements to Class D Permits

July 29, 2022

The Kenya Department of Immigration Services (‘DIS’) has implemented the below measures in an attempt to tighten the requirements for a Class D Permit. Class D Permits can be issued to foreign nationals who are locally employed by an employer in Kenya.

  • Understudies: When submitting an application for a Class D Permit, Kenya companies are required to provide details of an Understudy, a trainee who will be trained to fulfil the role that the foreign national will be taking. The DIS has implemented a database to retain details of all understudies, the principals and the permits they are linked to.

Under the current process, the DIS generally accepts the information regarding the Understudy submitted as part of the application. Under their new policy, the DIS will conduct verification calls to the Understudy when reviewing applications for a foreign national’s Class D permit.

Additionally, under the current process, the DIS does not monitor the effectiveness of the Understudy, however under the new process, when reviewing extension applications the DIS will check their Understudy database and will contact the Kenyan company and the Understudy for verification of the details. If the period of training indicated in the initial application has lapsed, but the Understudy has not filled the role they had intended to fill, the extension application of the foreign national could be affected.

Sponsoring companies are advised to review their Understudies training programs to prepare for upcoming extension applications.

  • Academic qualifications: The DIS will intensify its scrutiny and verification of academic qualifications and a foreign national’s suitability to the role in Kenya. Sponsoring companies will be required to identify Understudies who have similar academic and experience backgrounds to the foreign national to maximize a successful training program. If the foreign national’s suitability to the role is based on their experience, and not their academic qualifications, the sponsoring company will need to ensure they provide significant evidence in the form of detailed reference letters.

Newland Chase Insights

The above changes indicate that the Kenyan authorities are intensifying their scrutiny of work permit applications, and looking to streamlining processes through implementing changes to address identified issues.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.