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Living/moving to Kenya

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Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7
reviews: 1
Living/moving to Kenya

Hi Guys,

My first post on here but as an avid traveller to Kenya I was wondering if anyone can give me any information of how I get to live/work there please. I know there must be "red tape" etc and that work is very scarce there but I just need to get some ideas of of if there is any possibilites, yes have have done research and just wondered that any brits that live out there can give me any sort of advice at all. I know you will all bombard me with "don't do it" dont't be stupid etc. but please, I have done a lot of thinking and decided this is what I want to do.

I can live on mimimalistic etc and not a high powered "must have it" type of person, my heart is there my head says go so before its too late I have to make every effort to do so and pull out all the stops and do it before its too late.

Thanking you in anticipation to those who give me advice be it good or bad.

25 replies to this topic
1. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

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Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7
reviews: 1
2. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

Am looking to do anything any suggestions?

3. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

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Somerset
Destination Expert
for Mombasa, Diani Beach, Kenya
posts: 6,765
reviews: 13
4. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

Have a look at the Immigration web site to see what type of entry permit you require and costs. You will need to add on an extra amount to ensure it goes through the system smoothly - if you know what I mean!

www.immigration.go.ke/index.php…

It's not easy.

Newcastle upon...
posts: 1,355
reviews: 23
5. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

It is a nightmare trying to do what you want. I meet many a Brit, European or American who come to try and live in Kenya and the vast majority last 6 months and then go back home.

I am British, spend a lot of time working in Nairobi and I was very lucky to get a work permit within a couple of weeks due to a few people "I know" and the type of work I am involved in which helps like you would not believe out here.

ONLY do it if you have spare cash to get your permit, a lot of cash to start a business or have a specific skill with a degree behind it so as you could possibly get work from an NGO, UN, or a specified field organisation your qualified in.

Nairobi can very expensive but you can also live pretty cheaply.

Living in Kenya is nothing like coming for holidays or a few months here and there.

Naivasha, Kenya
posts: 693
reviews: 2
6. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

I agree with everything posted above. It is VERY challenging to get a work permit - it is your employer who is supposed to apply for it, giving reasons why a foreigner should be hired over and above a skilled Kenyan (of which there are many, out of work). There are 'back door' ways of obtaining a work permit, but you need to know the right people and have very deep pockets indeed - gone are the days when you can bribe an official with a few 000 bob. As a foreigner, you are extermely unlikely to obtain a work permit for a low paid job - the government have taken active steps to tackle this sector. Your profession and skills are very important in determining whether or not you are likely to get a work permit.

One way would be to keep an eye open for NGO jobs. From personal experience, they often ask for people with experience in the sector and the application process can be lengthy.

Some people try to set up their own company. To do this, you need a local partner and a sizeable amount of capital - it used to be $100,000, but may have increased.

To illustrate the challenges; I am married to a Kenyan citizen and have been for many years. We have invested heavily in land and property, but I have not been successful in obtaining a work permit, or visa to remain in Kenya. My profession is very well represented in Kenya, with a very high unemployment rate. Although I now qualify for dual citizenship, the government do not appear to be processing applications. Therefore, pending being granted dual citizenship; I currently travel to Kenya on a single or multi entry 'tourist' visa and leave the country periodically, to go to the UK, for periods of a few weeks. Its a pain, but better than not going to Kenya at all. When I applied for a work permit based on having a registered company, the process became so convoluted and expensive that I was advised to withdraw.

Kenya, particularly Nairobi can be very expensive, as Mallamombasa points out - rents in the 'better areas' tend to be high.

I would also confirm that living in Kenya is a very different experience from visiting and travelling there.

Somerset
Destination Expert
for Mombasa, Diani Beach, Kenya
posts: 6,765
reviews: 13
7. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

If your finances allow, I would suggest you come and rent a place for as long as a tourist visa allows (currently confusion as to whether its 3 months or extensions to 6). Security should be at the top of your list. Staying outside of a hotel complex is very different and every day can be challenging. You say you aren't a must have type - just as well as there are people who will ensure you don't have! That is said slightly tongue in cheek but be very mindful of who you trust. Things to obtain - IR pin and Alien Card.

It can be done but you need the patience of a saint and a healthy bank balance to show the officials you can support living in the country.

uk
posts: 1,166
reviews: 1
8. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

Agree with all the above

the main thing i would say is trust no one and i mean no one until you get to know them and still be on your guard

Ukunda, Coast, Kenya
posts: 383
reviews: 6
9. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

Kenya may be the worst place in the world to try to get any status above a tourist. If it's your goal to legally reside and work somewhere and not worry about paying huge sums of money, or being busted if you try to avoid the due process, I suggest you try another country.

I have been visiting for years on tourist visas but wouldn't waste a dollar of my money trying to upgrade my status. I have quite a few white friends who "do business" here and look like they're established residents - it turned out in every case that they weren't residents! They had their businesses and property registered in the names of their Kenyan spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. And of course if they break up with their partners they lose everything. I've seen that too.

Even owning a business here doesn't give you the right to a work permit. I have seen ridiculous situations in Diani where foriegners - usually Swiss or German - open a bar or restaurant. But since they don't have work permits they are forbidden from setting foot behind their own bars or handling the money! Their own employees have been known to call the police on them. And because they can't handle the cash and inventory themselves, the staff steal a lot of it. That's Kenya. Of course in the end it's Kenya's loss.

The only foreigners who can make a go of it here are major corporations, for obvious reasons.

So my advice as always is, be a tourist in Kenya or do a bit of volunteering on your tourist visa (technically illegal but people get away with it. But put down your roots somewhere else.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7
reviews: 1
10. Re: Living/moving to Kenya

KILIESHEWA

so do you now work there and just leave periodically?

What about "buying a business"

Edited: 5:47 am, April 09, 2014
Reply to: Living/moving to Kenya
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