By Uglobal Staff
Kenya's ongoing 60-day drive to clear its huge citizenship application backlog is expected to benefit hundreds of foreign investors.
The Kenyan Department of Immigration Services has launched a special drive to clear out a backlog of citizenship applications made by thousands of dual national Kenyans who had lost their home country’s citizenship when the constitution was repealed in 2011.
The initiative benefits not only the estimated 25,000 dual national Kenyans who were affected by the repeal, but also around 500 investors, according to the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.
"For those of our investors, the law provides the threshold of investment, the numbers of years you have been in our country, we have about 500 pending applications...in the next 60 days, we will go through all of those 500 applications and sort them all out," Matiang'i said.
The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011 governs the registrations of all foreign nationals in the country. The law states that an investor must first obtain a certificate from the Kenya Investment Authority, a body which vets the fact that a minimum investment of $100,000 has been made in the country. Once all the requirements are met, an investor then applies via the Department of Immigration for a work permit under the various categories such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing etc. These permits are then periodically renewed.
Investors who want to gain Kenyan citizenship, the law stipulates that like any other foreigner they must first prove that they have lived in the country for a period of at least seven years. Kenyan government officials such as Matiang'i are currently looking into proposals to bring this time period down to three-four years.
Some investors have already been given citizenship under the current drive, local media reported. The ongoing drive is expected to end on July 31.
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