State ends amnesty for foreigners, directs them to leave in two weeks or obtain permit - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 15 September 2020

State ends amnesty for foreigners, directs them to leave in two weeks or obtain permit


Kenya has ended the amnesty that allowed foreign national extended stay in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Director-General of Immigration Services Alexender Muteshi in a statement on Monday said the foreigners affected have two weeks to leave the country.

Muteshi said the move follows the resumption of international flights.

"In light of eased Covid-19 related restrictions and resumption of the international travel, the Directorate of Immigration services has lifted an earlier amnesty on the stay in the country beyond the stipulated six months,"  the statement read.

He said those affected should plan to leave the country in the next 14 days starting from September 14 or apply for residency (permit or pass) pass to regularise their stay.

"Failure to take advantage of the above two options be advised that section 53(1) j of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011 will take effect," Muteshi said.

In May, Muteshi issued a circular advising the National Police Service not to arrest or charge foreigners with the offence of being in the country illegally.

He said the directorate had received numerous letters from various police formations in the country asking about the status of foreigners.

"In view of the current Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country and world over, foreigners who are in the country have been granted a general amnesty regarding their immigration status," a notice from the directorate stated.

It further read, "This is, therefore, to advise that for the time being, no foreign national should be charged with the offence of being unlawfully present in the country. When this amnesty is reviewed, you shall be advised accordingly".

As a result, the department launched an online portal where foreigners affected would provide notifications of their visitor's pass extension upon exiting the country.

In April, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a 21-day ban on movement in Nairobi and the counties of Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa amid efforts to contain the coronavirus.

As a result, all road, rail, and air transport in and out of the affected areas were suspended.

While announcing a 30-day extension on an existing ban on all international flights, Uhuru said only cargo flights would be allowed a move that sent shivers among foreigners whose visas had expired.

It is however not clear on how many foreigners were affected as efforts to get the numbers from the department were futile.

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