Throughout Kenya there is a slow but steady movement of the rural population to the cities in search of employment. Some Kenyans have emigrated to Uganda, and ethnic Somalis are present in significant numbers in Kenya's North-Eastern Province.
Far-reaching migratory changes took place in the years immediately preceding and following independence. By 1961, the post-1945 trend of net European immigration was reversed, and in the three years that followed, approximately 29,000 Europeans left Kenya. Permanent emigration in 1964 reached 9,860, while permanent immigration totaled 5,406. In the first year of independence, some 6,000 Britons renounced their citizenship and applied for Kenyan citizenship; during the same period, approximately 70,000 persons living in Kenya—the majority of them Asians—were granted British passports. After the UK limited immigration by Asians in 1967, a crisis situation developed in Kenya. Work permits, without which Asians could not stay in the country beyond a limited period, were not issued, and the UK denied entry to Asians from Kenya who wanted to work in the UK. In 1973, the Kenya government served 1,500 notices of termination to Asian employees (there were 300 in 1972) and announced that by the end of 1974 it aimed to completely Kenyanize the country's retail and wholesale trade. In 1975, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry ordered the closing of 436 businesses, most of which belonged to Asians. Some 80,000 Asians were still living in Kenya at the time of the 1979 census, down from an estimated 180,000 in 1968.
Kenya's refugee population includes Somalis, Sudanese, Ethiopians, Ugandans, and a smaller group comprised of various other nationalities. The total number of refugees was reduced from 420,000 in 1992 to 187,000 in June 1998. The decrease is mainly attributable to the repatriation of more than 155,000 refugees to Somalia and 70,000 to Ethiopia. In 2001 Kenya was host to 220,000 refugees from neighboring countries. In 2000, the net migration rate was -0.01 migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the immigration level as too high.