Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah
Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday ordered the deportation of six Chinese nationals found illegally hawking clothes at Gikomba market in Nairobi.
He said he had signed deportation documents for the six, adding that “they will be having supper in their country tomorrow”
The minister said all foreigners trading in Kenyan markets are operating illegally, since the government does not issue permits for small-scale trading to foreigners.
“We do not have a classification of foreign traders coming into the country to conduct trade or hawk. Anyone (foreigners) found in our markets will be considered illegal immigrants,” said Matiang’i.
“We stopped issuing work permits in Kenya. Anyone who wants a work permit will have to apply for it from wherever they are,” he added, saying Kenya has the “most strict” work permit policy in the region.
The deportation follows public outrage over the increased presence of Chinese trading in Nairobi’s Gikomba market, with their pictures circulating on social media.
“We will escort them to the airport, bid them bye and ensure they have their dinner at their countries by tomorrow evening,” said the CS.
Matiang’i said the ongoing crackdown on foreigners living in the country illegally has unearthed scores of illegal immigrants across the country, including Migori, Narok and Meru counties.
He concurred with Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s observation that foreigners were taking over jobs that can easily be undertaken by Kenyans and assured the crackdown will go on.
Speaking when he opened an Immigration office in Nakuru, Matiang’i urged Kenyans to alert authorities of foreigners living among them without requisite documents.
“We have university graduates operating boda bodas and it would be unfortunate if, as government, we continue giving work permits to foreigners yet our people do not have jobs,” said Kinyanjui.
On the new immigration office, Matiang’i said it will help bring service close to the people and expedite the issuance of e-passports.
He revealed at least a million Kenyans have obtained the new generation e-passports ahead of the August 31 deadline. At least 1.5 million people still have old generation passports. The new office is expected to serve 300 people per day from the current 100.
“This is one of the government’s initiative to bring services closer to our people, world over people are migrating to electronic passports,” he said.