Kenya has suspended the visa-free transit arrangement with Pakistan following the influx of travelers of Asian origin in the country.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the country will no longer admit passengers from Pakistan without entry visas to the country.
“Till further notice, Kenya will require visas for passengers from Pakistan to Kenya. Kenya will therefore not accept passengers from Pakistan without entry visas to the country. 3. Those who fail to abide by these provisions will be turned away and required to leave the country immediately upon arrival,” the statement read in part.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the move was a result of a recent spike in the number of persons travelling from Pakistan en route to Saudi Arabia and other destinations, transiting through Kenya.
The government says that some of the passengers were taking advantage of Kenya’s status with these countries with regard to the COVID-19 quarantine regulations.
“This threatens to undermine Kenya’s agreements with these countries which are put in place to ensure the continuation of business and travel operations between our countries. Kenya seeks Pakistan’s cooperation and solidarity in ensuring adherence to these arrangements,” added the statement.
This comes moments after the government through the Ministry of Internal Security promised a crackdown on foreign nationals who are in the country illegally.
“In the last four months, Kenya has witnessed a surge in the number of foreign travellers transiting through our international airports. Majority of these travellers have originated from Pakistan and have valid Transit Visas to Saudi Arabia that are issued on arrival. The Kenyan Government is however alarmed by the threat of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic posed by the influx of foreign travellers transiting through the country,” said Internal PS Karanja Kibicho.
“Subsequently, the Government has ordered an immediate crackdown of foreigners who are in the country illegally.”
The exercise will be undertaken by the Department of Immigration and the National Police Service.
The government will also restrict the number of foreigners transiting through the country, according to Kibicho.