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Requirements for a Class M Work Permit for Refugees

CM Advocates > Employment, Labour Relations and Immigration Law Advisory  > Requirements for a Class M Work Permit for Refugees

Requirements for a Class M Work Permit for Refugees


Local integration is recognized by the UNHCR as one of the durable solutions for refugees and the refugee crisis world over.

In Kenya the Refugee Act, 2021 defines local integration as the gradual process through which refugees are incorporated into the society through a process that ensures that refugees attain broader rights, have improved standards of living and positively contribute to the social life of the host country.

In fostering the local integration, Kenya through the Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 and the underpinning Regulations provides that a person who has been granted refugee status in Kenya is eligible for a Class M work permit to take up employment in Kenya or engage in any specific trade, profession or occupation.

In this article, we highlight the requirements for obtaining a Class M work permit in Kenya.


Requirements for a Class M Work Permit

The following are the requirements for obtaining a class M work permit in Kenya: –

  1. Valid refugee identification card;
  2. Copy of the applicant’s valid national passport;
  3. Duly filled and signed application form 25. The application is made on the electronic Foreign Nationals Service portal here;
  4. Detailed cover letter from the prospective employer/organization, in case of private investment, proof of registration of a business in Kenya together with a valid Tax Compliance Certificate for the organization;
  5. Relevant academic and professional qualification certificates/documents, if available; and
  6. Letter of recommendation from the Department for Refugee Affairs in Kenya;

It is important to note that any documents in foreign languages should be translated into English by either the Embassy for the country of the applicant in Kenya, a Public Notary, or an authorized /recognized institution.

Equally important to note is the fact that the UNHCR, the Refugee Consortium Kenya (RCK) and the Norwegian Refugee Council Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance project (NRC-ICLA) offer assistance to refugees to register their businesses in Kenya. For registration of CBOs or Self-Help Groups by refugees, a Social Development Officer situated in Lodwar is tasked to attend to the registration.

At CM Advocates LLP, we assist refugees among other categories of foreign nationals to register their businesses and procure the requisite approvals and authorizations.

It is important to note that a class M work permit is a special kind of permit and despite failure to renew the said permit the holder may not be deported to their country of origin or residence where they face the threat of persecution contrary to the human rights and refugee law principle of non-refoulment.

Applicable Costs

It is commendable on the part of Kenya to note that class M work permits are issued free of charge.

Family Members

The spouse of a person to whom a class M work permit is granted may apply for the same class of permit if he or she wishes to engage in employment, trade or any other profession of occupation.


In case of any queries and or enquiries on this or any other immigration related matter do not hesitate to contact us on .

By Miriam Mugo: Lead Associate, Immigration Practice Unit


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