Director of Social Sector, Mary Makoffu (left) said that the development applies to those who wish to stay in a particular country but are not employed
East Africans are now free to live in any of the member states so long as they notify immigration departments every six months, the five-member bloc has resolved.
According to the Director of Social Sector, Mary Makoffu, the development applies to those who wish to stay in a particular country but are not employed, visitors, students or those in transit to other countries.
Upon the presentation of a travel document, a citizen shall be issued with a pass which shall entitle him or her to enter into the territory of the host partner state and stay for a period of up to six months.
"You can stay as long as you wish as the only requirement is to notify the immigration upon expiry of the six-month period of your intention to extend stay."
Under the provisions of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market on the free movement of persons, a Kenyan who seeks to enter the neighbouring Tanzania or Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi is required to present to the immigration authorities a valid common standard travel document and declare all the information required for entry or exit.
In the case of Rwanda, their citizens now have an identificationcard that is machine-readable. Kenya is in the process of developing one before the end of the year.
"For those willing to study in one of the bloc's partner states, the immigration office of the host nation shall issue a student's pass to an applicant who satisfies the requirements in this category. The pass shall be issued subject to terms and conditions, for a period not exceeding one year and shall be renewable, annually, for the duration of the study," Ms Makoffu said.
However, if one wishes to enter another partner state for the purpose of undergoing training for a period not exceeding two months, he or she shall be exempted from applying for a student's pass.
Indeed, this is the reason many Kenyans are flocking Uganda for studies.
Makkoffu said many EAC citizens are not aware of these provisions under the free movement of persons regulations and have been struggling to seek for work permits, which can be frustrating at times.
Meanwhile, Chinese nationals in East Africa are residing in the region under national laws of each particular state and they are not any threat to the regional integration process," Makoffu said.
"EAC partner states have got national immigration laws that allow immigrants from other parts of the world enter, stay and work in their jurisdictions and they should not be discriminated."
By LUKE ANAMI, The Standard