THE government intends to merge working and residence permits to partly curb loss of revenues in unaccounted permits and promote conducive environment for investment in the country.
An increasing number of illegal aliens, including people who enter the country without authorisation and foreigners who remain in the country even after expiry of their permits, is impeding revenue collections and posing challenges in control of state documents’ forgery.
At a joint press conference here yesterday, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama and her Home Affairs counterpart, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba announced plans for the single document.
“The permit will be applied online and the baseline standard for a new applicant is to meet residential and working requirements,” Dr Nchemba said.
“We don’t believe that one can apply for the residence permit without aiming at working, similarly whoever plans to work in the country will necessarily need a place to stay.”
The existing systems require foreigners seeking job opportunities to secure the permit from the ministry responsible for employment. The same individual is, however, required to undergo screening at the Home Affairs Ministry to meet the migration requirements.
Dr Nchemba said the immigration department is charged with the country’s security and therefore, whoever applies for the residence permit must be cleared of any likely harm to the state and ‘wananchi’.
“The system will be integrated to ensure that people allowed to work in the country are clear from any criminal record,” he emphasised.
The new programme, which is scheduled for rolling out later this year, puts Tanzania among countries in the developed world, which issue single document for both residence and working purpose.
Dr Chemba admitted that the government had been losing a lot of revenues under the current system, saying some individuals have neither working nor residence permits, yet they are not seeking authorisation of their stay unless arrested.
He warned public officials who have been issuing forgery documents, saying that investors whose employees have no legal documents must start surrendering themselves to the authorities.
Ms Mhagama said the current system is outdated and needs replacement. “We are not late and this is the right time,” she said.
The new move comes just few months after the government introduced new electronic passport, with President John Magufuli saying the new travel document will, among other things, enhance national security, control illegal immigrants and improve revenue collections.