In response to Kenya's increasing unemployment challenges, numerous Kenyans are developing ingenious strategies to secure jobs in the US while residing in Nairobi.
A recent method involves acquiring a US phone number to open a bank account, enabling applications for US remote roles that prefer native candidates.
Thereafter, the applicants create profiles on job aggregation sites and apply for jobs while posing as US citizens.
The process of opening a bank account costs Ksh12,852 (USD90), with Ksh7,140 (USD50) deposited while registering.
Research by Kenyans.co.ke indicates that owning a virtual US phone number from abroad is completely legal.
In some instances, businesses based in Europe or even Africa seeking to sell their services to people living within the United States are advised to possess a virtual phone number to make the whole process easier.
Consequently, several tech savvy professionals have since set up services designed to help interested persons acquire foreign phone numbers. Some consultants require their clients' ID information and proof of address before proceeding with the process.
According to providers, US-based companies prefer hiring individuals with local phone numbers for ease of communication without incurring additional charges on international calls.
"Setting up a traditional phone line for international or local US calls would be far more costly with more paperwork and hardware required than it would be worth," advised one of the service providers.
"A major advantage of establishing a virtual USA virtual number is that neither you or your customers have to worry about fees for international calls."
However, the process of acquiring a bank account as a non-resident can be tedious since most traditional banks require an applicant to present themselves in person.
The applicants are further required to present one of the following documents: a valid foreign passport, alien identification number from a green card, border crossing Card-DSP-150 with photo, Consular identification (CID) card or an ID issued by the country of origin, in this case Kenya.
Individuals outside the US, however, apply for online accounts and enlist the services of middlemen to help them with their applications and submit their details online.
Alternatively, applicants can open accounts with US banks that have international branches but must foot steep initial deposits.
Alternative Investment Route
Kenyans, however, have the alternative of obtaining a 'Golden Visa' (or EB5 Visa), whose holders are allowed to live and invest in the United States of America (USA) without extensive requirements.
The holder is also granted a chance to study, engage in other gainful activities and retire in America.
A visa holder does not have to be employed in the US to get an EB5 visa, but the person must make a substantial investment in the US as a pre-qualification condition.
"To receive this visa, you must invest at least Ksh105 million ($800, 000) in a US enterprise and create at least 10 American jobs," Visa Guide explained on its website.