Government has approved the principles for amendments to the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act 2009.
Information and National Guidance Minister Rose Namayanja says this will facilitate harmonious implementation of the provisions of the East African Community Common Market Protocol. Namayanja adds that the amendments to the act are in line with the regulations of the East African Community on free movement of workers, right to establishment and right of residence and the constitution.
Government has now endorsed and amended the provision for citizens of the East African Community who desire to obtain employment to enter Uganda and apply for work permits within 15 working days from the date of entry or conclusion of contract of employment. Where a work permit by a citizen of the EAC is rejected a notice is given as well as a reasonable time for the citizens to leave the territory of the state.
It also provides for a citizen of the EAC who intends to take up economic activity to apply for a work permit within 30 days of entry into the country.
It provides for classes, forms, fees and procedures of entry permits as agreed upon by the partner states. When a worker is being expelled from the country, he or she, spouse and their dependents shall be given reasonable time to leave the territory of the host partner state.
The protocol also includes the proposal to provide for loss of citizenship by registration where a marriage has been declared void by court or tribunal to be recast to bring it in conformity with the provisions of Article 124 of the constitution.
It also provides for the detention of illegal migrants for purposes of preventing unlawful entry of persons into Uganda and effecting expulsions of such persons from Uganda.
Cabinet now seeks to amend section 65 of the Act to provide for automatic eligibility for persons who were citizens by birth or descent to apply for a certificate of residence.
Government has also agreed to set up a cabinet committee to propose uniform grounds on which a competent authority may reject an application for a work permit for a citizen of East Africa which shall be submitted to Arusha for future adoption and uniform application in all member states.
Meanwhile, government has ratified the East African Community protocol on cooperation in Defence affairs.
The EAC heads of state at their 10th extra ordinary meeting held on April 28, 2012, approved and signed the protocol and directed that the negotiations on the mutual and defence pact commence immediately after ratification and deposit of instruments of ratification.