Working in Kenya

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working in KenyaKenya has one of the most productive economies in Africa, benefitting from its strong agricultural, manufacturing and real estate sectors. However, the economic reality on the ground can make it difficult to secure a job.

Unemployment levels remain high today, and the government is protective of jobs that Kenyans can do. Thus, working in Kenya can prove difficult for expats that have not secured a job prior to arrival. Companies need to prove to government that the position is unable to be adequately filled by someone from the Kenyan workforce.

Job market in Kenya

Kenya, and especially Nairobi, is a major business hub in eastern Africa. Several multinational companies have set up shop there, including BASF, General Electric, Nokia, Coca-Cola, Toyota and SAB Miller.

However, even with the presence of these branches, the country lacks the financial and business draw that encourages the level of immigration found in other, more attractive expat destinations. Most expats who work for these multinational corporations move to Kenya on an intra-company transfer, where they have previously been working for the company in their home country.

Finding a job in Kenya

Industry sectors most likely to employ foreigners include tourism, journalism, development, and teaching. On the whole, expats rarely show up in Kenya looking for a job, but are instead relocated there or hired from overseas by a company familiar with the work visa process.

There are many volunteer jobs in Kenya with government and NGO organisations. The country is a regional hub and headquarters for not-for-profit organisations and serves as the administrative centre for the operations of aid organisations in East Africa, especially for matters related to Somalia and Sudan. For this reason, many expats working in Kenya find themselves in teaching or development positions, regardless of their skill set.

Furthermore, the United Nations maintains a number of offices in Nairobi. The Kenyan capital is also home to a number of foreign embassies, which employ many expats.

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