Kenyans stranded in Lebanon will have to wait until their immigration status is determined, Kenyan officials said Wednesday.
Some Kenyans in Lebanon, who lost their jobs following the massive explosion in Beirut last week that killed over 100 people and left 300,000 people homeless, have been calling on the Kenyan government to fly them home.
Several videos have surfaced on social media showing Kenyan women protesting outside the Kenyan consulate in Beirut urging the government to bring them home.
Kenya’s Embassy in Kuwait, which is accredited to Lebanon, said the employment and immigration status of the protesters in Beirut is “unknown” and they have to apply for proper papers.
“The Embassy notes with a lot of concern that several Kenyan protesters, who were outside the consulate in Lebanon, are in unknown employment and their status is unknown,” the Kenyan mission said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The procedure for international travel is that anyone in such a precarious circumstance applies for Emergency Travel Certificate (ETC) and seeks clearance from the immigration department before they can board a flight.”
Ms Halima Mohamud, the Kenyan Ambassador to Kuwait told the Nation on Wednesday the mission had instructed the protesters to register with the honorary consulate in Beirut to get travel documents.
“We have communicated to the Kenyans to register with the consulate and we are already trying to address their issue,” she said.
COST OF FLIGHT
She added that about 30 Kenyans from Lebanon came back to Kenya after they were issued with emergency travel documents.
But the government said the cost of flight is on the Kenyans who want to come back home.
Kenya has no embassy in Lebanon even though it has established diplomatic relations with the country. With the accredited embassy in Kuwait, the government enrolled the services of a local Lebanese lawyer to act as an honorary consul.
“The consulate is ready and willing to give ETC and process clearance of the documents through the immigration department and negotiate waiver of immigration penalties once they comply with the protocol required,” the embassy said.
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