Kenya takes action against Tanzanians without immigration documents


Kenya is taking action against Tanzanians in the country without the correct immigration documents.

The move comes after Tanzania President John Magufuli took similar action against Kenyans working in Tanzania without permission. Immigration officials in Kenya have now been instructed to stop Tanzanians entering – unless they have the necessary documents in place – while those already in Kenya could face deportation.


Kenya reacts to deportation of its citizens

The Kenyan government is acting upon existing laws that hadn’t been enforced until now. In principle, there’s an agreement between East African Community (EAC) nations for free movement – including freedom of labour across borders.

However, Tanzania enforced its own immigration laws in early March, forcing many Kenyans working in the country to leave. Tanzania is legally within its rights to decide which immigration laws are enforced, but the same thing applies to Kenya which is reacting in a similar vein.

“This is not a new law. It has been there and we now want to enforce it,” Kajiado county commissioner Harsama Kello told Kenyan publication, The Star, on Thursday.

“We have been reluctant to [enforece these laws against] our neighbours because of the cohesion that has been in existence until they decided to kick out our people,” he said.


Freedom of movement

The East African Business Council previously called on Tanzania President John Magufuli to reconsider his decision over foreign workers’ immigration requirements. The new laws mean Tanzania no longer differentiates between citizens of EAC member states and other foreign workers.

Within the EAC there is a protocol for free movement of people, goods and services. Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have waived work permit fees for citizens of the EAC, but this no longer applies to Tanzanians working in Kenya.

“Tanzania should reconsider the step of introducing the work permit fees in addition to the resident permit fees,” Lilian Awinja, EABC executive director, said about the country’s recent law changes.


Featured image: By Realt0n12 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,



About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.