KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control in the Ministry of Internal Affairs has so far arrested more than 100 foreigners accused of engaging in petty businesses.
Simon Peter Mundeyi, the spokesperson for Ministry of Internal Affairs said the operations they have conducted in the various parts of the country have shown that there are many foreigners, especially Indians, Chinese, and Pakistanis who came to the country indicating that they were going to operate factories but have now resorted to petty businesses.
Mundeyi said although some of the arrested Indian and Chinese nationals had expired work permits, making them illegal citizens, the majority had genuine work licenses but were engaging in businesses and jobs which are contrary to what they said they were going to do.
The operations that started in June this year have seen over 100 foreigners arrested for abuse of their work permits and having no prerequisite documents that warrant their stay in the country.
At least 60 foreigners who have been abusing their work permits or living illegally have been arrested in Kampala Metropolitan Area.
Others have been arrested in areas of Mbale, Iganga, Soroti, and Jinja doing businesses that are not described in their application for work permits. Mundeyi said all these foreigners in their application explained that they were going to start up factories or serve as technical officers in already set up factories in Namanve, Mbale, and Jinja but are now running retail shops selling electronics.
URN understands that some of the affected persons have made attempts to seek attention from high-ranking government officials in order to express their dissatisfaction with the ongoing operations where some claim they were arrested yet they had needed documents to stay and work in Uganda.
Rao Hohana, the Chairman of The Indian Association Uganda, said he was engaged in meetings and could not respond to our inquiries. However, Agnes Igoye, the deputy national coordinator human trafficking department explained that some foreigners are trafficked into the country.
Igoye cites an example of Ethiopians who were intercepted at the Entebbe International Airport destined for Beirut Lebanon. The directorate team at the Airport became suspicious and doubted why Ethiopians would use Uganda going to Lebanon and moreover on visit visas.
Mundeyi explained that operations are always conducted based on reliable intelligence. Apart from those arrested from Jinja and Mbale areas, the directorate had earlier arrested over 60 in Kampala metropolitan areas, especially in Kampala City Centre, Nansana, and Kira municipalities running electronic, home, and kitchen stuff shops instead of being in factories.
However, Mundeyi said they have noticed that many foreigners are playing hide-and-seek.
When the teams are in Kampala, the illegal foreigners and those abusing work permits go to live with their relatives in Western Uganda, Mubende, and Mityana.
Mundeyi said their teams will be conducting the operations at the same time in various parts of the country.