3000 foreigners working illegally in the country

Details of 3,434 foreigners who are in the country illegally have been circulated to relevant authorities to facilitate their deportation.

The foreigners did not show up to verify their work permits at the close of a 60-day exercise by the Immigration department and are "thus deemed to be in the country illegally".

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said they had been placed under a watch list at all ports of entry.

Dr Matiang'i said some 26,829 foreign workers were registered and permitted to work in Kenya.

Another 2,760 are accounted for although they did not turn up owing to varied reasons, including illness and travel.

At the beginning of the verification, more than 34,000 registered foreigners had been issued with work permits by the Immigration department.

“It is possible some workers decided to leave at the end of their term,” said an official.

During the verification, the foreigners were required to submit their original work permit, valid official endorsement on passport, valid alien card, official payment receipt and a Kenya Revenue Authority personal identification number.

The Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government uses about Sh360 million per year to deport foreigners found living in the country illegally. Matiang'i said the money should instead be used to improve service delivery at the Immigration department.

He said the Government would propose amendments that would require those nabbed for being in the country illegally to pay for their tickets back to their home countries. Those who cannot afford to will be made to work for it in jail, he said.

Digital records with personal details will be established after the verification. All foreigners have been issued with a card that has security features and personal information.

Meanwhile, outgoing National Intelligence Service Director of Counter Terrorism Co-ordination Alexander Muteshi on Monday took over as the Director of Immigration.

Mr Muteshi takes over from Maj-Gen (rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa who was promoted to Principal Secretary for Immigration and Registration of Persons.

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