Work Permit in Kenya

Why is Work Permit Needed?

In the last few years, Kenya has issued strict immigration laws for foreigners to obtain work permits and visas for working in the country. From submitting applications to limiting the number of hired foreign employees in favor of Kenyans, the native companies have to abide by the country’s policies. This can make it a more tedious process for people to start hiring a foreign team.

To legally work in Kenya, one must have an approved work permit in Kenya and a work visa. Therefore, the person must have an approved work permit and visa before entering the country for work.

About the Kenya Job Market


Number of expats in Kenya

No valid data available

Expat 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

Is there a quota set for Kenyan employers to hire foreign employees?

No, there is no quota system in Kenya to hire foreign employees. Every Kenya immigration work permit application form is considered on merit by the immigration Department. However, it is mandatory for each applicant to provide an understudy who will be a Kenyan citizen. This Kenyan citizen will be trained by the foreign employee to take the position for which they have applied.

Can a person with a dependent pass work in Kenya?

No. The dependent pass only allows the spouse to stay in Kenya. It prohibits the person from working in Kenya.

What is the procedure for employees who have to join immediately?

In this case, one can apply for a special pass valid for three months and takes three weeks to process. The application for the special pass and the work permit can be submitted simultaneously. According to the law, the pass is valid for six months. Although the Immigration Department issues a special pass for only three months, it can be further extended to the final period of three months.

Are there strict laws for Immigrants to acquire a work permit in Kenya?

Yes. There are some additional immigration requirements focusing on national security that were added as per the Security Laws (Amendment) Act 2014. Some of the key highlights of this new law are:

i) The foreign nationals must have an approved work permit in Kenya before entering the country.

ii) If someone has multiple passports, they will only be able to use the one declared in the work permit application.

iii) The cabinet secretary in charge of the National Treasury will be in charge of determining the categories of employees who qualify for work permits in Kenya.

Although the changes have yet to be implemented fully, we expect the law to bring procedural and documentary changes that can complicate the application process and increase the current processing time for long-term work permits.

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