Tanzania- Visa Hustle!

A very happy Monday to everyone. I have been on a bit of a sabbatical due to the UK and the South African Bank Holidays within the last month. To those of you who don’t know me, I am based in South Africa and I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work for a UK Based Company like Uniglo Financial.

I was perusing the online news sites for updates or titbits on Africa as this is where I sometimes seek my inspiration to write and I came across a very interesting morsel on Tanzania which will affect all expat contractors in Tanzania currently waiting for visas/work permits or those thinking about applying.

Please be forewarned that there are huge delays anticipated in the foreseeable future because ….. wait for it…… President John Magufuli gave 9932 Civil Servants on the 28th of April 2017 their marching orders.  What an terrible labour day they must have had?

Yes, nine thousand, nine hundred and thirty- two civil servants and to throw a spanner in the works, he has suspended an additional 3000, pending further investigation.  The dismissed and suspended government workers all had fraudulent school leaving certificates (High School) and an ongoing investigation is being launched for those who claim to have a tertiary education. Many heads will soon roll.

To give you some background, John Magufuli was elected as a new president in 2015 and affectionately known as “Magufuli the Bulldozer”. Within 1 day of his tenure he started cleaning house by weeding out corrupt officials in all government offices, slashing expenditure by cutting out all government parties, conferences in posh places and declared that all workers will now travel economy class or drive locally, including himself. In fact, for his first out of town appearance, he drove 6 hours to reach his destination.

He has certainly lived up to his nick name and declared that the fraudulent civil workers will be treated as any other miscreant.  He has given them up until the 15th of May to resign and are liable to appear in court and face jail time for up to 7 years.  This purge was prompted by a report released on fraudulence amongst government workers. He set up a task team to investigate and verify these 445 000 workers and all the surprises came out of the woodwork.

The education minister said that some had been using their relatives school certificates while others had photoshopped certificates. The minister also went on to say that there isn’t a particular place which is well known for making fake certificates in Tanzania, but it’s easy enough to get hold of one on the black market.

Apparently, it is very common practice in TZ. Police raided a house in Dar es Salaam last year and found two individuals with machines, stamps and piles of templates for fake secondary school, birth and even business licence certificates stacked up in a room. It is also very common for people to use their friends’ or family members’ certificates. In this case, when someone gets a job or goes on to higher education, they will actually change their name to match the one on their certificate.

How will this affect things in the grander scheme of things? There will now be less workers at the Immigration Departments, Border Posts and at the airports. Expats who currently have work permits and residence permits need to prepare themselves for additional delays of around 1-3 months. Those who are currently in Tanzania on a business visa and hoping to apply for a work and residence permit- expect delays of 2-4 months. Also expect delays at airports and popular border posts like Arusha.

The government of Tanzania have already recruited new staff; however, they have not been officially employed.  One must also take into consideration that they need to be trained on Immigration regulation protocol which could result in learner mistakes being made and inevitable delays.  I attempted to call the Immigration Departments in Dodomo and Dar Es salaam and I was unable to get through to them. I plan on giving them a call on Monday to confirm probable delay times. In interim, if you have any questions about Tanzanian Visas please contact is on u2us@uniglo-financial.com.

Have a fabulous week ahead.