Let us start by exploring what each service involves;
Immigration Service – Immigration is the movement of people from one Country to another on temporally basis normally for business or leisure. Immigration services is any form of service aimed at facilitating such movement and includes; Visa processing, work permit processing and arranging temporally accommodation normally hotel accommodation.
Relocation service – Relocation on the other hand is the movement of people from one town or Country to another on a long term or permanent basis. Relocation service is any service aimed at facilitating smooth settling down in the new location and includes house/accommodation search and contracting, Country orientation, facilitating school placement for expatriate’s children, guided tour of new location etc.
Various local and international investment and business advisory organizations have predicted that East Africa will continue to grow its ranking as a leading investment destination in Africa. The Region has experienced significant political, social and economic stability compared to other African regions and its economic block, the East African Community continues to be way ahead of other regional economic blocks in Africa. The Region seems headed for political integration sometime in the foreseeable future.
The strong integration path, established democracy and stable economies offer key attractions to investors and especially multinational companies seeking markets for their products in emerging African markets.
This Article explores what this trends means for providers of immigration and Relocation Services in East Africa.
I. Regional business expansion will increase regional immigration
The Region has seen rapid regional expansion with leading Companies in various sectors opening Country branches in other East African Countries with Kenyan Companies playing the leading role. Today you see branches of a Kenyan, Tanzania or Ugandan companies in every Capital City in East Africa. These companies will definitely need the following services;
a) Work permits for their staff from home branches which immigration service providers can facilitate.
b) Country orientation in the new cities for their foreign employees which relocation service providers can provide;
c) Swahili language training for expatriate staff which Swahili language training institutions can provide.
d) Schools for the foreign staff which relocation service providers in the region can provide.
Thus International organizations with presence in East Africa/ Hub status will bring in more expatriate staff to East Africa and grow demand for both Immigration and relocation services Kenya is increasingly becoming not just a regional but a continental hub with many multinational companies relocating their Africa Head Offices to Nairobi and others opening regional centers in Nairobi. This will increase significantly the number of expatriates working in Nairobi over the next few years which could double the demand for both Immigration Services and Relocation Services.
II. Growth in Tourism Industry will also boost demand for immigration services
While East Africa lags behind other Africa Regions in the number of visiting tourists, tourism remains key to East Africa Economies.
Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda continue to invest millions of dollars in destination marketing and as economic integration increases, the number of regional tourism initiatives continue to grow.
This is therefore an opportune time for established multinational companies providing relocation and immigration services to set base in East Africa.
International immigration service providers will need local partners in key capital cities of East Africa especially Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala in the following areas;
a) Facilitation of Work Permit Application in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania
b) Facilitation of Resident Pass processing in Tanzania
c) Facilitation of Special Pass processing in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania
d) Facilitation of Dependant Pass processing in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania
e) Visa requirements information
f) Facilitation of House Search for arriving expatriates in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania
g) Local transport
h) Hotel Accommodation bookings awaiting own accommodation
i) Placement of children in local international schools in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania
On the side of relocation services, international service providers can partner with local partners in the areas of;
a) Country orientation including social, cultural and geographic orientation
b) Training in local official language, Kiswahili
c) School placement facilitation for expatriates with children
d) Packing/unpacking and clearing of house hold item.
One can therefore expect local immigration and relocation service providers to experience growing
business opportunities on their own and through partnerships with international immigration and
relocation service providers.