Kenyans living and working in the diaspora are set to enjoy better government services if a new bill is approved.
The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 2020, seeks to ensure that Kenyans abroad get similar services as those offered to their compatriots back home.
The bill is sponsored by Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata and was introduced in the House for first reading on Wednesday.
The proposed law obligates Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary to formulate policies and frameworks to ensure the interests of Kenyans abroad are catered for.
“The state is expected by the Constitution to safeguard the welfare of all the Kenyan citizens be they home or away,” the bill states.
The bill also seeks to ensure that the Kenyan diaspora community actively participates in the socio-economic development of the country, form associations, and voluntarily contribute to a saving scheme.
“The Cabinet Secretary may liaise with financial institutions in Kenya to negotiate favorable terms on the investments of any contributions that may be made,” the bill read.
Kenyan missions abroad will be required to keep and maintain an up-to-date register of all associations of Kenyans living there if the bill sails through.
In addition, the Foreign Affairs Ministry must come up with a policy that ensures Kenyans abroad get consular services including application and renewal of passports.
“In ensuring that the services specified under section 32A are accessible to all Kenyans living abroad, liaise with public officers serving in Kenyan missions for the welfare of Kenyans living abroad.”
“The Cabinet Secretary shall ensure that services provided at Kenyan missions are timely and appropriate to the circumstances,” the proposed law states.
The bill also wants the government to gradually establish missions in countries in which it does not have representation.
Kenyans seeking to return home permanently will have access to all government services, including updating their status on voters’ register, the bill further states.
The CS shall file an annual report in parliament on the implementation of policies relating to the welfare of Kenyans abroad, according to the proposed law.