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Work Permit in Kenya

Is a Work Permit Required in Kenya?

n Kenya, a work permit is essential for foreign nationals due to the country’s specific economic policies and labor market dynamics. One of the primary reasons for this requirement is to protect employment opportunities for Kenyan citizens. With a high unemployment rate and a large youth population entering the workforce, the Kenyan government prioritizes local employment to ensure that its citizens benefit from economic activities. By mandating work permits, the government ensures that foreign workers are employed only in positions where there is a clear shortage of local expertise, thereby safeguarding jobs for Kenyans.

Kenya’s work permit system also supports the country’s goals of economic development and diversification. Kenya is focusing on developing various sectors such as technology, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism to foster economic growth and reduce poverty. The work permit process allows the government to attract skilled foreign professionals who can contribute to these critical sectors, filling skill gaps and promoting innovation. This targeted approach is vital for enhancing productivity and fostering sustainable economic development in Kenya.

Ensuring compliance with labor laws and standards is a key aspect of Kenya’s work permit system. The government uses the work permit process to ensure that foreign workers are employed under conditions that adhere to Kenyan labor laws. This includes guaranteeing fair wages, safe working conditions, and access to social security benefits. By enforcing these standards, the government aims to prevent the exploitation and abuse of foreign workers, ensuring that all employees in Kenya are treated with respect and fairness.

The work permit system in Kenya involves thorough background checks and verification of qualifications to maintain national security and uphold professional standards. The government ensures that foreign workers possess the necessary skills and credentials and do not pose any security risks. This scrutiny helps maintain the integrity of the Kenyan workforce and ensures that foreign workers contribute positively to the economy and society.

About the Kenya Job Market

Work Permit in Kenya

Number of Expats:

No data found.

Expats Job Websites:

Jobnetafrica, learn4good, Aetnainternational

Popular Industries for Expats:

Banking, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance, Teaching English

Types of Kenya Work Visa Available

Here are the different types of work visas issued in Kenya for different purposes:

Class A

‍This visa is issued to people willing to engage in prospecting for minerals or mining.

Class B

‍This work permit is issued to people who intend to invest in Agriculture or Animal Husbandry.

Class D

‍This is issued to people offered a specific role by a specific employer who is qualified to take that employment.

Class G

‍This work permit is issued to investors involved in a specific trade, business, or consultancy.

Class I

‍This work/residence permit is granted to a member of a missionary society. It is then approved by the Government of Kenya.

Class K

‍This residence permit is issued to a foreign national who has an assured income derived from multiple sources outside. The foreign national should also undertake to not accept paid employment of any other kind.

Class M

‍This work permit is issued to the Conventional Refugees.

Requirements for a Kenya Work Permit

For different types of work visas and a work permit in Kenya, there are different requirements. For Class A:
  • Required licenses and registrations.
  • Renewed license held for prospecting minerals and must also submit a copy of the PIN.
  • Sufficient capital and resources for investment.
For Class B:
  • Proof of land ownership or the leasehold of the interest in land for the purpose.
  • Evidence of the capital that is available for the purpose.
  • A clearance from the authorized bodies.
  • Renewals for a current license, which is held for prospecting minerals, and a copy of the PIN is required.
For Class D:
  • Copies of the academic or professional certificates must be submitted along with the CV.
  • Evidence that the organization was not able to fill the vacancy from the local labor.
  • Form 25 should be duly filled, signed, and sealed by the respective company.
From Class G:
  • A documentary proof of capital that is to be invested/ already invested with a minimum of 100,000 US dollars or maybe equivalent in any other currency.
  • A registration certificate of the company or a certificate of incorporation.
  • Copies of personal and company PIN (Personal Identification Number) if they are running the business.
  • To renew the visa, one must submit audited accounts from the previous two years and a tax compliance certificate from the Kenya Revenue Authority.

Kenya Work Permit Application Process

Here is the application process to issue a work visa and work permit of Kenya by foreign nationals: 1. Foreign nationals who are willing to work in Kenya have to apply for a Kenyan work permit. The classes will be allotted as per the specific circumstances of the applicant. The success rate of getting approval on a work permit depends on whether the skills required for the position are available locally, which means that the employers have to justify hiring a foreign national instead of a local. 2. After the submission of the application, the Ministry of Immigration will be presented to a committee to get approval. The process may take at least 2 and 6 months. 3. Some of the factors considered by the committee while deciding to approve or reject an application:
  • The amount of money invested and its impact on the economy of Kenya. This is determined by the auditor’s report and bank statement.
  • The number of jobs created for Kenyans depends on the application letter submitted by the applicant’s agent.
  • The applicant has more chances of getting approval if they come from a country with a more robust economy than Kenya and low criminal statistics.
If the application meets all these criteria, the Ministry will issue a Notification of Approval. If rejected, the Notification of Rejection will be issued. After this, the entry permit is endorsed on the applicant’s passport. 4. Foreigners planning to stay in Kenya for more than three months must register for an alien registration card from the Immigration Department.

Work Permit Exceptions and Special Cases

According to Kenya’s Citizenship and Immigration Act, it is illegal for foreign employees to enter and work in the country without holding a valid work permit. If an employer has employees coming and working without any valid documentation, they will be deported. Therefore, just applying is not enough to enter Kenya. Your application should be approved as well.

How Multiplier Can Help

We are Global EOR solutions with established local entities in over 150+ countries. We are on a mission to simplify the onboarding process for companies like you and help you manage to onboard talent from across the globe. Designed and developed by our team of in-house experts, our Global HR platform can provide all-in-one solutions to our users. With our SaaS-based solutions, you can request a work permit in Kenya and a work visa. Our extensive team of experts will simplify your tasks by managing the entire process, including the processing time, document checklist, and the cost incurred. During the whole process, you will be kept updated about the progress.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Class A: For those engaged in prospecting for minerals or mining.
  • Class B: For individuals investing in agriculture or animal husbandry.
  • Class D: For employees offered specific employment by a Kenyan company.
  • Class G: For investors involved in specific trades, businesses, or consultancies.
  • Class I: For members of missionary societies approved by the Government of Kenya.
  • Class K: For foreign nationals with assured income from sources outside Kenya.
  • Class M: For conventional refugees​

Requirements vary by visa class but generally include:

  • Class A: Licenses and registrations for prospecting minerals.
  • Class B: Proof of land ownership or leasehold interest and sufficient capital.
  • Class D: Academic or professional certificates, evidence that the position could not be filled locally, and a completed Form 25.
  • Class G: Proof of investment capital of at least USD 100,000 and company registration certificates​

The process typically takes between 2 and 6 months. Applications are reviewed by a committee at the Ministry of Immigration, which considers factors such as the investment’s economic impact and the number of jobs created for Kenyans​

No, a dependent pass only allows the spouse to stay in Kenya and does not permit them to work. Separate work permits are required for dependents who wish to work

The fees for a Kenya work permit vary depending on the visa class and other factors. For example, Class A permits for mining may have different fees compared to Class G permits for business investors. Detailed fee structures are usually provided during the application process and can be checked with the Kenya Immigration Department​

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