The process of obtaining work visas(permits) for foreign national employees in Kenya is a complex affair. Even though the requirement of an ‘understudy’ was introduced quite some time back, we have noticed that it still needs a lot of clarification.
What is an understudy?
An understudy is a local Kenyan employee that is required to work with the foreign visa holder for skill transfer purposes.
What are the criteria for having your Work Visa(Permit) approved?
There are two main criteria for a Work Visa to be approved. Firstly, the applicants’ skills are not locally available and secondly, the issuance of the visa should be to the benefit of Kenya.
The understudy falls under the second criteria. As mentioned earlier, It is necessary for the Kenyan company to designate a local employee to collaborate with the visa holder, with the aim of facilitating the transfer of skills.
During the application process, the Kenyan company is required to provide details (CV, work contract, etc.) of the understudy. The understudy’s educational background must much the assignee’s background and the expected skill transfer. The visa holder and the understudy need to be aware of their roles and measures must be in place to ensure skills transfer and experience sharing.
How is this enforced?
The Kenyan Directorate of Immigration Services can decide to interview the assigned understudy to verify the law is being followed and the required information is provided.
Are there any exemptions?
A company may be exempt from the understudy requirement if they are newly established and yet to start recruiting staff. No understudy would be necessary during the first application process. However, this changes when a renewal of an application is initiated.
How IBN Immigration Solutions can help you
IBN Immigration Solutions has assisted numerous clients in Kenya and would love to assist you too!
We are familiar with all the requirements for applications, possible red-flags, and hold-ups with the government’s immigration department, meaning that you’ll be in safe hands.
If you want to know more about it, get in touch with us. We are happy to assist.
Written by Sandra Estermann
Edited by Simon Carletti