IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Department of Immigration has confirmed that it has suspended the recently announced requirement that applicants for work permits and other passes submit a police clearance certificate in support of their applications.

What does the change mean? The Department confirmed Wednesday that Special Pass (short-term work permit) applicants are exempt from the police clearance requirement, but further confirmed Thursday that applicants for all other pass and permit types will be equally exempt until further notice.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All permit and pass types.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for any Kenyan permits or passes.
  • Impact on processing times: Because obtaining a police clearance may take several weeks, the temporary suspension of the new requirement will positively impact processing times.
  • Next steps: BAL will continue to follow this matter and will provide updated information to clients should the decision to suspend the new police clearance certificate requirement be reversed.

Background: The new requirement that all work permit applicants submit a police clearance certificate was announced last week with little notice and took effect Monday. The original clarifications were provided by the Department of Immigration in response to BAL’s queries about how the policy will be applied in different circumstances. The department went further on Thursday, however, by confirming that the police clearance certificate requirement has been suspended until further notice.

BAL Analysis: Although the suspension of the requirement for all permit and pass applicants is good news for those who are required to work in Kenya, employers and foreign employees should be mindful of the fact that the Department of Immigration has classified the suspension as temporary in nature; therefore, they should be prepared to factor in additional time when planning to apply for, or renew, their work authorization should the suspension be ultimately lifted.