Some 13 foreigners have been arrested with fake or invalid work papers so far in government crackdown on aliens working in Kenya illegally.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Tuesday said 2,000 foreigners had been issued with work permits in the scrutiny that will run until July.
At the end of the exercise, Dr Matiang’i said foreign citizens found to be illegally holding Kenyan work papers will have them revoked.
He said the ministry will draw an amendment bill to compel those found without permits to work to raise cash for their air tickets back home.
Dr Matiang’i spoke as he briefed members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), international organisations and diplomatic missions on the progress of the work permits verification and registration, which has been running since June 21.
The CS said investigations on how the 13 foreigners got the permits is under way and those found culpable will be punished.
He also said the audit cannot be moved to counties as had been suggested by some applicants, saying that will create room for “illegalities”.
Immigration and registration of persons departments are some of the most corrupt in Kenya, according to EACC and Transparency International graft indexes.
“It is a known fact that there are brokers working even in the department, and offering the aliens permits illegally for a fee,” the CS said.
“Their days are however numbered, and we will soon catch up with them.”
In the ongoing registration, aliens working for short durations can apply for a special pass which is valid for 60 days and renewable once that period expires.
Speaking in the same event, Interior Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa acknowledged that use of brokers to acquire the documents have been on the rise.
However, the department has the situation under surveillance, he said.
“Investigations on how the 13 apprehended got the permits is underway and those found culpable will face stringent disciplinary measures,” said Major-General (Rtd) Kihalangwa.
The verification and registration of foreigners working in Kenya targets to clean up the registry of non-nationals working in the country, according to the CS.
At the start of the exercise, Dr Matiang’i pointed out apparent flaws in the registry put the number of registered foreigners at 34,000—a number he disputed, saying it was more than 100,000.
Stringent measures will follow for those who will not have complied with the registration and verification directive, according to the CS.