Kenya Country Profile - Updated April 2016

Report
from Danish Refugee Council, Mixed Migration Centre
Published on 15 Apr 2016 View Original

Key mixed migration characteristics

  • Kenya is a critical hub for mixed migration in the region. It is primarily a country of destination and transit for people in mixed migration flows and to a more limited degree a country of origin for some migrants.

  • Mixed migration movements into Kenya includes refugees, trafficked persons, irregular and economic migrants from other African countries particularly from East African countries including South-Central Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

  • As of March 2016, the refugee and asylum seeker population in Kenya stood at 597,683 with about 70% from Somalia (UNHCR).

  • Kenya is also a regional hub for smuggling with an estimated 20,000 Somali and Ethiopian male migrants being smuggled to South Africa, mostly via Kenya, every year. (IOM)

  • According to the U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2015, Kenya is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children for the purpose of forced labour and sex trafficking. IOM’s Kenya Migration Profile 2015 also cites Kenya as a major regional hub for trafficking in persons.

  • Kenya is also a country of origin of mixed migration. The World Bank estimated (as of 2013) that there were approximately 475,499 Kenyan emigrants or 1% of the total Kenyan population. Top destinations for Kenyan emigrants are the United Kingdom, United States of America, the Middle East and other African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa.

As a mixed migration origin country

To a limited degree Kenya is a country of origin of mixed migration. However, for those Kenyans who leave the country, the push and pull factors are different than for migrants in neighbouring countries. Most Kenyan emigrants are skilled and well-educated, leaving Kenya through legal channels (at least initially) to seek training or work in different countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and also further afield in the USA, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. The exact figures vary according to different sources. The World Bank estimated the number of Kenyan emigrants in 2013 to be approximately 475,499 1 or 1% of the total Kenyan population. Some sources indicate that there are as many as 3 million Kenyans abroad2 .
The Middle East and the Gulf region are key labour migration destination regions for Kenyan unskilled migrant workers. Kenyan authorities estimated the number of Kenyan migrant workers in the Gulf Region to be 100,000 as of November 2014. Agencies based in Nairobi recruit young Kenyans with promise of better pay. Press reports indicate that often upon arrival, migrants’ passports are confiscated and the promised job may not necessarily have the same terms as agreed upon. Victims are reportedly forced into domestic servitude, massage parlours or brothels

  • Kenya is a critical hub for mixed migration in the region. It is primarily a country of destination and transit for people in mixed migration flows and to a more limited degree a country of origin for some migrants.

  • Mixed migration movements into Kenya includes refugees, trafficked persons, irregular and economic migrants from other African countries particularly from East African countries including South-Central Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

  • As of March 2016, the refugee and asylum seeker population in Kenya stood at 597,683 with about 70% from Somalia (UNHCR).

  • Kenya is also a regional hub for smuggling with an estimated 20,000 Somali and Ethiopian male migrants being smuggled to South Africa, mostly via Kenya, every year. (IOM)

  • According to the U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2015, Kenya is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children for the purpose of forced labour and sex trafficking. IOM’s Kenya Migration Profile 2015 also cites Kenya as a major regional hub for trafficking in persons.

  • Kenya is also a country of origin of mixed migration. The World Bank estimated (as of 2013) that there were approximately 475,499 Kenyan emigrants or 1% of the total Kenyan population. Top destinations for Kenyan emigrants are the United Kingdom, United States of America, the Middle East and other African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa.

As a mixed migration origin country

To a limited degree Kenya is a country of origin of mixed migration. However, for those Kenyans who leave the country, the push and pull factors are different than for migrants in neighbouring countries. Most Kenyan emigrants are skilled and well-educated, leaving Kenya through legal channels (at least initially) to seek training or work in different countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and also further afield in the USA, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. The exact figures vary according to different sources. The World Bank estimated the number of Kenyan emigrants in 2013 to be approximately 475,499 1 or 1% of the total Kenyan population. Some sources indicate that there are as many as 3 million Kenyans abroad .

The Middle East and the Gulf region are key labour migration destination regions for Kenyan unskilled migrant workers. Kenyan authorities estimated the number of Kenyan migrant workers in the Gulf Region to be 100,000 as of November 2014. Agencies based in Nairobi recruit young Kenyans with promise of better pay. Press reports indicate that often upon arrival, migrants’ passports are confiscated and the promised job may not necessarily have the same terms as agreed upon. Victims are reportedly forced into domestic servitude, massage parlours or brothels or forced into manual labour upon arrival. Trafficking victims are subjected to serious human rights violations such as sexual harassment, violence, torture, starvation and other cruel and degrading treatment.

Accurate estimates of the frequency and nature of the problem are a challenge since trafficking is an underground operation in which perpetrators may collude with government officials and trafficking victims may not be willing to disclose their status. Following these reports of abuse, the Kenyan government in 2014 revoked the licenses of 930 agencies recruiting Kenyans to work in the Middle East and announced a temporary ban on recruitment of workers for employment in the Gulf region. The Ministry of Labour established a new process for recruitment agencies sourcing jobs abroad which requires government approval of all contracts prior to applicants signing them and leaving the country for employment. Applicants are also required to register with the Kenyan embassy abroad.