Foreign students in Uganda at risk of deportation

Over 100 illegal immigrants in Uganda arrested, deported
Ministry of Internal Affairs Spokesperson Simon Peter Mundeyi

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) has urged all foreign students in Uganda to acquire student passes or be deported. A student pass for international students in Uganda is billed at USD 100.

Simon Peter Mundeyi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs faulted universities and colleges for allowing their systems to host foreign students whose stay in Uganda has not been legalised. He explained that several students came into the country without legal documentation creating a lacuna 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 they have opted to work during 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 says 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 (DCIC) arrested 182 illegal immigrants during a night operation conducted in Kampala. These included 116 Eritreans, 62 Somalis, 4 Ethiopians, 1 Chinese, an Irish and a Canadian.

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.

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According to information obtained from the National Council of Higher Education, 200,000 learners were in 2020 alone registered as foreign students from East African countries and beyond. Dr Alex Kagume, the Deputy Executive Director of the Council faulted private universities for failing to encourage their international students to secure passes before they start their journey 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 however, added that universities should always have updated data on foreign students because some of them only enrol for one semester and abandon the education system for work.

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 and travel documents.

He adds that immigration has also been decentralized in different regional centres to ensure that the said students are not inconvenienced during the process.