Kenya Work Visa: The Ultimate Guide

Shehla Hamzalizada26 May 202341731 views6 min. read
Kenya Work Visa: The Ultimate Guide

Finding a job in Kenya is incredibly challenging, akin to digging for a needle in a haystack. The competition is steep, and employers seek relevant experience for the roles they need to fill. Nevertheless, recruits join companies every day. How do job seekers take advantage of employment opportunities? As per a recent survey, university graduates in Kenya take around five years to secure employment. Sadly, the pandemic has led to a rise in the unemployment rate. The Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics reported that almost 1.7 million Kenyan residents have lost their jobs.

The Job Market in Kenya

Before the pandemic, it was already difficult for many people in Kenya to find employment opportunities without having connections. With more than a million job seekers, competition for employment has become even more challenging. More than having a university degree is required, as there are thousands of unemployed graduates in Kenya. With more job seekers than available positions in Kenya, it can take time for individuals to ensure a job. This situation creates a highly competitive job market where only the strongest candidates succeed.

Sadly, many job seekers may lack the necessary qualifications to compete effectively. For job search, we recommend various methods to improve yourself and get employment opportunities. For your job search, it's essential to understand yourself first. Analyze your strengths, weaknesses, and the type of work you enjoy doing. It is also crucial to consider the employment opportunities you're applying for. Some jobs require you to work night shifts or weekends, which may not be compatible with your schedule if you have other commitments. Knowing yourself better will help you find a job that provides greater satisfaction. If you rely solely on online job platforms, you may miss out on many unadvertised employment opportunities. As a job seeker, you must network with professionals in your industry to learn about these hidden positions. Doing so gives you access to job openings that have not been advertised. Applying for popular sectors can give you less chance as there is more competition since many people know them.

Work Visa Sponsorship

Recently, Kenya has tightened its regulations on work permits and visas for foreign nationals. Long-term work and residence permits are granted to individuals with employer sponsorship who will benefit Kenya through specific employment, investment, trade, or professions. Companies now have to comply with various policies, including submitting applications online or via mail and prioritizing the engagement of Kenyan citizens over foreigners. These policies have made it more challenging for companies to establish a foreign team. Foreigners need to find a qualified job for specific positions, but the hiring company must provide full employer sponsorship for the visa requirements.

IIn Kenya, work visa requirements are divided into various categories based on the specific activities a non-Kenyan wants to participate in while in the country. These categories include:

  • Class A: Categorized for those who want to apply for prospecting and mining.
  • Class B is for individuals who are curious about farming or agriculture.
  • Class C: Is for anybody who is an associate of a determined job and intends to practice independently or cooperate in Kenya.
  • Class D: This visa is planned for whom have job offers with a firm, the Kenyan government, any Kenyan state administration, the United Nations, or any recognized agent. Applicants for a class D Kenya work permit must have skills and diplomas not obtainable in the nation. A sponsored employer has a Class D work permit obtained by their employer in Kenya. Some Kenyan firms pay great attention to employer sponsorship for qualified applicants. The Kenyan government wants to ensure capable and well-trained citizens run their economy.
  • Class F: For individuals who desire to employ in exact manufacturing conditioning.
  • Class G: For anyone wanting to join a specific commerce, industry, consultancy function, or specialization.
  • Class I: For individuals embarking on religious or helping activities.
  • Class K: For regular residents at least 35 years old with an annual payment of a specific charge from sources further than occupation.
  • Class M: This permit is for people granted refugee situations in the country.

Job Portals and Resources

Nowadays, people try too hard to find their dream job and be qualified for it. The most common way for job seeking is job websites. There are tons of them. You can find an enormous amount of professions and very different types of job opportunities. These websites are primarily agents who connect employees with employers. When searching for a job, you can use job portals, which compare and match your qualifications, such as your experience, specialization, and age range. The website will search for positions that match your relevant qualities and provide a curated list of the best options. You can also browse online applications through the website's main page, saving time and effort. 

Global platforms like LinkedIn also offer excellent opportunities to expand your professional networks. To get in touch with people, you must fill out your personal information and experience on the website. You can then browse the available options and connect with those that interest you. You never know; one of these connections could be your future manager. The benefit of this system is that you can connect directly with human resources managers, making it more effective than traditional job websites.

Work Culture and Etiquette

When you choose to work in Kenya, you'll contribute to one of the largest economies in East Africa. The government has set its sights on elevating the country from its current developing status to becoming a middle-income country in the next 20 years. This economic growth will increase average income and better living standards for nationals of Kenyans. However, obstacles still need to be overcome to achieve this ambitious goal. The Kenyan business environment is sometimes challenging for foreign employers. If you are an ex-pat worker in Kenya, you may notice that the business customs and working methods differ from your home country. While Kenya generally welcomes international workers, particularly in cities like Nairobi, the business hierarchy can be quite vertical. It contrasts with the more collaborative approach to professional behavior in other countries. To help ex-pats adjust, here's an overview of the Kenyan work environment and business etiquette in Kenya. Because the business customs in Kenya might vary from that of your nation of origin, it is critical to become acquainted with specifics before beginning work. In Kenya, commercial clothing is professional or nicely suited, and meetings tend to start with a firm given handshake, eye contact, and the Swahili greeting 'Jambo.' Sessions begin on time because consistency is vital. The hierarchical structure is particularly significant in the Kenyan work environment, with junior or less experienced staff members responding to senior or elderly executives or personnel.

Employment Rights and Benefits

Employee benefits can make a big difference when it comes to attracting candidates. Employers can make job offers more appealing by providing compensation and difficult-to-turn-down benefits. To design a structured employee policy and comply with the management rules, it is crucial to understand Kenya's compensation and labor laws

The Labour Relations Act 2007 controls labor laws and the enrollment and considerations of commerce associations and employers' organizations and facilitates employees' independence. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 2007 manages workers' rights, healthiness, and interest in the workplace. In addition, employees are entitled to various benefits such as healthcare insurance, dental insurance, paid time off for sick and vacation leave, childcare benefits, maternity leave, and retirement plans. 

These benefits are provided by companies' labor laws, which give a sense of security and confidence in their work organization.

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