Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i (above) has called for amendments on the immigration laws to force illegal immigrants pay for their own deportation costs.
He said the government spends Sh360 million annually on air tickets for deportees adding that the figure was expected to go up if the laws are not changed urgently. Dr Matiang’i said more than 200, 000 foreigners were in the country but only 34, 000 were documented and have work permits.
“Some came as tourists and sought employment later and have been evading taxes,” he said adding that some have been working as expatriates beyond the required period. “If we don’t do this exercise successfully, next financial year we will need close to Sh500 million to deport illegal immigrants from here,” said the CS.
The CS noted that such funds were required to improve health services and other public amenities instead of being spend on illegal immigrants.
Matiangi who was speaking at a Nairobi Hotel while briefing stakeholders on the on- going exercise for permit verification and registration revealed that the ministry was preparing the amendments’ for parliamentary approval.
“The immigrants will also have to meet the cost of their food for the time the government will be holding them as they work to raise money for tickets to travel back to their countries,” he said adding that there was need to be pragmatic to save government such unwarranted expenses.
“Why should I be buying tickets every day for people who are here illegally? If you don’t have money to buy your tickets we will make you work at a rate we will agree, whether it is Sh200 or Sh 150 per day until you make your ticket then you go back. We don’t want to know whether that will make us unpopular or not,” said the CS.
He said IG Joseph Boinnet is putting together an efficient and incorruptible police team to mount a crackdown on illegal immigrants beginning July 22 this year.
“We will move around the country and those who are not documented, don’t have work permits, are not here properly we will get them out of our country so that we are an orderly environment, though at the risk of sounding ruthless,” Matiangi said.
He pledged a more strict immigration regime that will prevent illegal immigrants. He said the government must have in its records, all the foreigners in the country and know what they are doing and where they are doing it.
“We have people in this country who we cannot trace, who could even blow up your business and once they do that and go, because they arrived here on tourist visas, I don’t have them on any records and it will be difficult to trace them,” he noted.