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Contributed date

November 12, 2021 - 2:58pm

Critical Commentary

AO: This is a digital copy of the 2011 Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act which I use in discussion of the ways that travel and immigration policies shape the internal raced hierarchies of who is considered to be and compensated as an expert in Kenya. Under the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011 of Laws of Kenya, a class D work permit is issued to a person who can offer evidence that the “organization failed to fill the vacancy from the local labor market.” This means that a foreigner is not supposed to be hired for skills that you can find in Kenya. I saw this play out in particular at one of my fieldwork research sites, a research lab with Nairobi-based staff of approximately 50 people, half Kenyan and half immigrants primarily hailing from Europe and North America. The Kenyan immigration policy—that foreigners must be experts with rare skills that cannot be found in-country—was used to justify why all of the executive level directors and upper rung of the organizational hierarchy were non-Kenyans and why below a certain “line” in the org chart, all staff were Black Kenyans. Combined with naturalized assumptions that those at the top of an organization earn the most, the Kenyan immigration policy—ostensibly in place to protect local Kenyans from losing their jobs to foreigners—paradoxically justifies why foreigners are paid significantly more than many Kenyans.

Cite as

Government of the Republic of Kenya, "THE KENYA CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION ACT, 2011", contributed by Angela Okune, Research Data Share, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 12 November 2021, accessed 28 May 2024.