The election of President John Magufuli into office in Tanzania has really caused a lot of excitement in the region. His no nonsense approach to issues of governance and service delivery to the public has endeared him to the masses not only in Tanzania but also in other countries in the region… I suspect the hash tag ‘what would Magufuli do’ was actually coined in Kenya! His style of leadership is still causing ripples across the world with many articles and opinions in diverse media coming up all over…some in praise and others castigating him.

Whereas I know almost every sector of the Tanzanian public service is keen to keep up with the speed, in this article I wish to address myself to what the ongoing Immigration crack down means to corporates doing business in Tanzania. It is important from the onset to separate facts from fiction. Tanzania is not expelling foreigners, the Immigration authorities are enforcing the law by apprehending those in the country unlawfully. It is common practice world over for Immigration authorities to ensure that non citizens residing in their countries do so within the law. Unfortunately, the issue of illegal immigration is as old as the world and can not just be wished away. That said, let us then ask ourselves what does this mean to companies operating in Tanzania? Well my simple answer is that it will not be business as usual. It will be tougher to deploy foreign workers into Tanzania because as we speak the issuance of short term work authorization commonly referred to as Conducting a Temporary Assignment’(CTA)’ has been stopped. This is not because the president just ordered but because that is the Law! So all the president has ordered is the strict enforcement of the law.

In every global conference I have attended and made presentation on the practice of Immigration in Africa and Kenya in particular, I have been asked the question about the mixed signals immigration authorities send when it comes to enforcement and my answer has always been that if you want to be always right and sure that the status you have is the correct one, always stick to the law as written even though as practiced may be slightly different. on the Tanzanian CTA issue, I have consulted a friend of Mine, Davis Nyaga, who is both a qualified lawyer and experienced Immigration professional and he tells me that the Tanzania Immigration Law does not actually provide for a CTA!

All foreign workers are required to apply for work applicable residence permits in Tanzania to be able to work.

If this is the case then, it will now follow that the speed of deploying expatriates to Tanzania will be affected. Businesses will have to rethink their mobility plans and strategize on how to go about this in addition to hiring more locals who are qualified to do such jobs. This coming at the beginning of he year will cause a lot of headache to multinationals with operations in Tanzania but laws are laws. I believe with proper guidance from professional Immigration service providers with understanding of Tanzania Immigration practice, such companies will eventually make some headways…..what would Magufuli do….. Well, I am not sure!

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