Kenya Ship Contractors Association (KSCA) have supported the initiative by the Interior Ministry on a nationwide crackdown against foreigners illegally working in the country.
In a statement the association urged Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiangi to extend the crackdown on illegal foreigners at the Port of Mombasa believed to be working for international shipping lines that serve the Port of Mombasa.
''We wish to salute the CS for Interior but urge him to ensure that the exercise is extended to the Port of Mombasa. This move will not only streamline unfair job consideration framework in the country which has been neglected for decades but also help resolves unemployment levels in the country which is too high ,'' KSCA chairman, Richard Jefwa said.
Jefwa named several international shipping lines with offices at the Port of Mombasa that have employed foreigners in jobs that locals can do.
Among the shipping lines include CMA CGM Kenya Limited, Pil Kenya, Diamond Shipping Services, Gulf Badr Group, Rais Shipping Sharaf Shipping and Wilhemsen Shipping Services.
He said that some of the job positions firmly in the hands of foreigners include Port Operations, Customer care , Sales and marketing, Accounting and Auditing, container logistics, Import and Export managers , branch managers, shipping managers and information technologists.
Jefwa said that despite the existence of labour policy in place, there has been an increase in number of foreign workers who come onboard to fill jobs that locals believe should be theirs.
''This is due to a corrupt system in the Kenya's Immigration department. The management in some of the international shipping lines are in conspiracy with the corrupt an unpatriotic Immigration officers in Mombasa and Nairobi for issuance of unlawful permits to foreigners which ends up denying citizens of this country especially the youth , opportunities to prosper despite having the qualification and skills required for the jobs,'' Jefwa said.
Mvita MP, Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir had petitioned the 11th parliament through a motion to compel the government to address the issue of foreign shipping lines operating at the port of Mombasa and employing foreigners at the expense of locals.
''I sought to have the National Assembly through the Departmental Committee on Transport ,Public Works and Housing to intervene to have the maritime regulator, Kenya Maritime Authority ( KMA) to look into the matter and enforce relevant provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act ,'' Abdulswamad said in the petition before the August House.
During a nationwide launch of the foreigners work permits last month by Matiangi, three brokers linked to a syndicate extorting unsuspecting foreigners seeking work permits were nabbed.
“We will continue to hunt down for more brokers because the Department of Immigration Services does not need such people to facilitate the processing of papers,” the CS said then.
The verification exercise is set to conclude on July 22, 2018.
He said the ministry will put in place a digital register of foreign nationals working in the country upon the completion of the verification exercise.
“I’m optimistic that by the time we conclude the verification exercise and issue new work permit cards, we will have a digital register of people entitled to work in the country,” said the interior CS.
Already, Matiangi said foreigners found to have been in the country illegally are being processed for deportation with a multi-agency team expected to convene later in the week to finalize the plans.
He, however, said that the ministry was drafting a piece of legislation that would compel deportees to meet their travel costs in a bid to cut government expenditure on deportations.
“The proposed amendments would save us from spending sometimes up to about Sh 500 million annually to deport people,” Matiangi noted.
At the onset of the work permit registration exercise, the number of foreigners cleared to work in the country had been estimated at 34,000 albeit concerns of aliens exploiting tourist visas to gain access to the country’s job market without seeking work permits.