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Tanzania, Work, Permit, Residence
Tanzania has imposed a 33 per cent increase in work permit
fees on residents of other East African Community member states, putting to
test a treaty launched two years ago to ease movement of professionals in the
region.

The country’s home affairs ministry last week directed all
foreigners to seek fresh documents, saying the residence permits that are in
force would expire at the end of this year.

“All foreigners holding resident permits “A”, “B” and “C”
are informed that with effect from August 01, 2012 they are required to submit
their Residence Permits at Regional and District Immigration Offices for
replacement,” a notice on the Tanzania Principal Commissioner of Immigration
website reads.



Although the directive says old permits would be renewed at
no additional cost, persons and businesses seeking permits for the first time
will obtain them at the new rates.

The order affects self-employed foreigners (holders of
Residence Permit Class “A”), firms which intend to transfer employees to
Tanzania (Class “B”) and permits usually held by missionaries, students,
foreign volunteers, researchers and retired foreign nationals (Class C).

The employers who opt to transfer part of their workforce to
Tanzania will now pay $2000 (Sh168, 000) per employee, a 33 per cent increase
from $1,500 (Sh126, 000).

Self employed pensioners will now pay between $1,000
(Sh84,000) to $3,000 (Sh252,000) depending on business type while class “C”
holders are now required to pay between $200 and $500 to be allowed to work in
Tanzania.

The statement comes two years after the East African
Community launched a common market protocol to ease the exchange of labour and
other factors of production across the border.

“The new fees for the work permits are very high and not
everyone in the private sector can afford them,” The East African Business
Council, a lobby group from region’s businesses, said on Monday.

Kenya and Rwanda became the first states to scrap work
permit fees on citizens by December 2010, raising hope that Tanzania, Uganda,
and Burundi would follow suit shortly.

The reverse action of Tanzanian government exposes how
national agencies are likely to exploit loopholes in the common market protocol
to frustrate the search for a regional free market economy in future.

“When there are such barriers, the free movement of persons
which is one of the great milestones envisaged in the East African Integration
cannot be achieved,” EABC said calling for intervention from the council of
ministers.

The increased work permit charges and other administrative
barriers that have cropped up lately will be discussed during the EAC’s council
of ministers annual meeting in November.

“We won’t give room for any of these arbitrary charges since
they may give an impression that member states are free to renegotiate the
common market protocol,” said Mr Musa Sirma, Kenya’s EAC minister and current
chairman of the region’s council of ministers.

However, Tanzania is exploiting a clause in the protocol
allowing member countries to subject rights such immigration, establishment and
access to land to national laws. The clause was inserted to win over members
who were hesitant in signing the protocol.

“Tanzania was within its sovereign right to increase its
work permit fees but we expect it to create concessions that distinguish east
African citizens and their businesses from other foreigners,” Peter Kiguta,
EAC’s director of trade and customs told the Business Daily in Nairobi on
Monday.

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