I know many people have written to me seeking various answers for their spouses on what to apply for them to confer residency. According to the constitution of Kenya 2010 article 45 confers the right to family and marriage to spouse of opposite sex. Section 11 of Cap 172 laws of Kenya ( Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011) provides for spouses of Kenyans acquiring citizenship by marriage while section 37 provides for acquisition of permanent residence based on marriage while section 36 provides for passes, including dependent passes for spouses of Kenyans as well. Section 27 (2) B. of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations 2012 specifies that a spouse of a Kenyan can be issued with a Dependent pass if they apply in the prescribed manner.
My view is that none of these provisions of the law talk of the gender of the spouse meaning that either a male or female spouse of a Kenyan qualifies. However, there has been some hesitation from some Immigration officials dealing with such applications when male spouses of Kenyans apply for Kenya Dependant Passes (KDPs). This is partly due to historical and security reasons. It is important to note Kenya Immigration may ask for more documents in support of such application and even call the said spouses for an interview to find out some more information that may be useful in helping in the issuance of the KDP. This should not be construed to mean that such applications are being declined….I know for obvious reasons, most African societies are patriarchal in nature and in most cases men are “not expected” to depend entirely on women for upkeep! This is not in the spirit nor in the letter of the law and therefore cannot be used to create bottlenecks to spouses of Kenyans.
This brings me to another point: There is need to consider creating a category of work Permit for spouses of Kenyans who choose to be on KDPs rather than Permanent residence (PR) or acquiring citizenship as spouses of Kenyans. However, the assumption is spouses of Kenyans should apply for PR that allows them to work…the challenge with this is that one need to have been married for at least 3 years before they can apply for PR meaning that those who are newly wed cannot apply for this and KDP doesn’t allow them to work. It is therefore my personal view that we need to come up with a category of work Permit like the former class D to allow spouses of Kenyans to work in Kenya instead of being stay at home mums and dads as is the case with KDP holders.
I could be wrong but we at least need to accept that Kenyans, male or female will continue to marry foreign nationals who will opt to reside with their spouses in Kenya. So folks lets discuss this issues that is affecting a big number of Kenyans married to Foreign Nationals.