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KQ probe: Senators shocked that 66 cabin crew lack work permits

Up to 66 foreign nationals employed at Kenya Airways do not have work permits, as per records at the Department of Immigration.

Immigration deputy director Joseph Munyoki on Thursday told the Senate committee investigating affairs at the troubled airline that only 16 permit applications had been received from the airline.

He said of the 82 names forwarded to the Immigration Department for confirmation on authenticity of work permits, 66 names were missing from their records.

“According to our records, these foreign nationals should not be working at Kenya Airways as in-flight attendants,” he said.

Of the 16 permit applications, 14 were processed and issued for two years on varied dates, which have since expired and were not renewed.

The national carrier reported a Sh25.7 billion after-tax loss for the period ended March 2015, amid management’s call for a State bailout.

Among issues that the senators are investigating is staff retrenchment at KQ, which is said to have caused resentment between workers and the management.

“Give us an amplified explanation on justification for issuance of permits to the foreign nationals in your list,” said Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, who chairs the Senate Committee.

Siaya Senator James Orengo questioned the department’s “patriotism” in approving permit applications for foreigners after the airline had sacked locals.

“I am not sure the Immigration Department is patriotic enough to ensure Kenyans do not lose jobs to foreign nationals,” he said.

Mr Munyoki noted that the airline had resorted to hiring of foreigners after an advertisement to recruit multi-lingual in-flight attendants failed to get qualified applicants.

SOURCE: Business Daily