In a statement, the Ministry of Devolution announced that it will henceforth only issue work permits to expatriates in instances where Kenyans lack the requisite skills and qualifications to undertake such jobs.
Charities, or NGOs, working in Kenya risk losing their licenses if they fail to comply with new tough rules about employing foreigners. The authorities say that, with some exceptions, foreigners should not be employed if there are Kenyans who can do the job.
Kenya has also accused some organisations of flouting the law by employing expatriates without proper work permits.
“There are expatriates working in the charity sector without valid work permits in total contravention of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2012 and provisions of Section 17 of the NGOs Coordination Act 1990 and Regulation 28 of NGOs regulations of 1992,” the statement stated.
Research by the NGOs Board suggests that expatriates earn four times the salary of locals for doing the same job with comparable skills and qualifications. An action which the government criticised.
For a long time, tensions have been brewing between Kenyan and foreign staff, as many locals are angry over what they see as unfair treatment.
Expatriate employees enjoy large allowances, security, housing, a vehicle and comprehensive attractive medical insurance.
“Expatriates are often too quick to dismiss dual salary systems as a non issue and the subject of wage disparities as a taboo topic in the charity sector,” the statement stated.
“Take note that the board shall not issue any recommendations unless it is proven and or demonstrated that there are no Kenyans with the skills required available in the job market,” read the letter from the Ministry of Devolution, making reference to the NGOs Coordination Board which monitors charities operating in the country.