The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control has read a riot act to all foreign students to acquire student passes or be deported. Uganda charges international students $100 (about 380,000 Shillings) for a student pass.
Simon Peter Mundeyi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that universities and colleges were wrong to let foreign students stay on their campuses who did not have permission to stay in Uganda.He says that some students got into the country without the right papers, which left a hole in the immigration system.
The directorate says that some of the students have gone ahead to acquire jobs without work permits and student passes. Others, according to Mundeyi, have mastered that the department conducts its operations against illegal citizens during the daytime and have opted to work during the night hours, mostly in the areas of Kabalagala, Kansanga, Bunga, Muyenga, and Nansana.
In order to stop the illegal stay and work of foreign students, Mundeyi said the directorate has notified universities and colleges with unregistered foreign students to do so before they are forcefully ejected.
Recently, the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control arrested 182 illegal immigrants during a night operation conducted in Kampala. There were 116 people from Eritrea, 62 from Somalia, 4 from Ethiopia, 1 from China, 1 from Ireland, and 1 from Canada.
When someone is arrested for illegally living in Uganda, he or she is fined a sum of USD 20 (about 76,500 Shillings) for each of the days unlawfully spent in the country.
According to information obtained from the National Council of Higher Education, 200,000 learners were registered as foreign students in 2020 alone from East African countries and beyond. The Council’s Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Alex Kagume, said that private universities should have made it easier for their international students to get passes before they left with them.
In a recent interview, Naome Tukundane, an immigration officer in charge of night operations, also said each university has to profile its learners by keeping their data. She did say, though, that universities should always have the most up-to-date information on foreign students because some of them only come for one semester and then leave school to get a job.
Col Geoffrey Kambere, the Commissioner of Immigration Control, said they are trying to automate the process and make it easy for the students to have personalised stickers on their travel documents. He goes on to say that immigration has been decentralized in various regional centers in order to minimize disruption to students during the process.