We’ll not relax strict work permits rules, says Uhuru

President accuses some foreigners of taking advantage of country’s hospitality to deny Kenyans job opportunities

President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended the new stringent rules in the issuance of work permits saying some unscrupulous foreigners were taking advantage of Kenya’s hospitality.

He said foreign staff employment and terms of service must fully conform to Kenyan laws and also to interests of the country.

“We have had instances where visitors take advantage of Kenya’s hospitality and therefore, we had to register foreigners afresh. New vigour has also been applied in handling of renewal of permits,” he said.

The Head of State was speaking during the official opening of the new World Vision East Africa regional headquarters in Karen, Nairobi. The President sentiments came after World Vision’s Vice President for East Africa Stephen Omollo appealed for leniency as most of their staff were stranded waiting for their permits to be renewed.

Omollo’s views were echoed by World Vision national director Francois Batalingaya, who said 25 to 30 staff who work at the regional headquarters work permits need to be renewed.

“From last year, we have had issues of staff without work permits and they had to go out of the country to get special permits,” he said.

The President assured that work permits for World Vision staff will not be subject to undue delays due to the nature of their work.

“Whenever we are in a country we must make sure we operate according to the local laws and the laws here are clear, we must get work permits,” he added.

While congratulating World Vision for its successes, the Head of State named some of the prominent Kenyans who have benefited directly from the organisation’s interventions among them Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, Supreme Court Judge Justice Isaac Lenaola, Turkana Governor Josphat  Nanok, Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko and former MP Lina Jebii Kilimo among others.

President Kenyatta thanked the organisation, which has more than 6,000 employees in the region, for choosing Kenya to be its regional hub.

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