By Nsunjo Erica
The Government Of Kenya through its immigration has lifted an amnesty stay for foreigners who got stuck in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and ordered them to leave within 14 days.
The amnesty was granted to all foreigners following government restriction that included the closure of borders and airspace as well as, initially, intercountry movements to and from Nairobi. However, with the resume of International flights on August 1, local and international travel was allowed and now the government is sending foreigners out.
The amnesty was issued in April and it allowed all foreigners to continue staying without paying an extra coin for visa renewals despite expiry because borders were closed and there were no other travel means.
A notice from the Immigration Department said all foreigners previously allowed to stay in the country despite the expiry of their visas must now leave or apply for residence permits in a fortnight.
“All affected visitors have 14 days to comply with effect from Monday, September 14,” Alex Muteshi, the Director-General of the Department of Immigration Services said in a notice on Monday.
“Failure to take advantage of the above two options, be advised that Section 53 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act  will take effect.”
The directives from the immigration indicate that all foreigners who refuse to leave the country in the granted period will have questions to answer in case captured by the immigration police. Foreigners whose visas or residence permits expired during the pandemic lockdown will no longer be excused in relation to restrictions in order to be allowed to stay.
According to the immigration, foreigners whose documents have expired must pay the stipulated fees to renew them or leave the country within 14 days.
The law proposes penalties of up to three years in jail or up to Sh500,000 fine for those found in the country illegally. It also allows those with expired documents to be declared prohibited immigrants and deported.