Zelensky initiates dual citizenship for Ukrainians living abroad

Given the large number of Ukrainian Canadians (1.4 million), significant:

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine to develop the procedures of the provision of the second Ukrainian citizenship to the Ukrainians, who live abroad. He also ordered to simplify the procedure of the provision of the Ukrainian citizenship to people, whose rights and freedoms are violated as President’s Office reported.“From his side, President of Ukraine orders the MFA to develop the mechanism of the provision of Ukrainian citizenship as the second one to the ethnic Ukrainians from friendly states, to those, who want to join the development of their historical homeland. Besides, Volodymyr Zelensky orders to develop the mechanism of the simplified provision of Ukrainian citizenship to people who suffer from the violation of rights and freedoms in their countries,” the message said.

Such decision was made within the news on the extension of the arrest of Ukrainian POW sailors and signing of the order on the simplified procedure of the provision of the Russian citizenship to the Ukrainians by Russia’s president. Zelensky’s office believes that such steps create the obstacles for the weakening of the conflict in Donbas.

On July 17, 2019, Lefortovo Moscow Court extended arrest of all 24 Ukrainian POW sailors until the end of October.

The same day President of Russia Vladimir Putin distributed the effect of the order on facilitated issuance of Russian citizenship on all the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Source: Zelensky initiates dual citizenship for Ukrainians living abroad

Bill introduced to allow dual citizenship for Indians

Given the large number of Indian expatriates, significant if passed and implemented:

Draft legislation brought before the Indian parliament seeks to allow dual citizenship for millions of foreign nationals of Indian origin who currently have to renounce Indian citizenship once they become citizens of another country.

Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor introduced a Bill last week to amend Article 9 of the Constitution of India that provides for automatic termination of the Indian citizenship upon acquiring citizenship of another country.

“We have the largest diaspora in the world, many of whom have migrated abroad for better opportunities. Taking a foreign passport for convenience does not make them any less Indian,” said Mr Tharoor.

According to the UN World Migration Report 2018, over 15.6 million Indians are living in other countries, making it the largest diaspora in the world, followed by the Mexicans and the Russians.

A large section of India’s global diaspora has been calling for India to allow dual citizenship. The government of India, in order to cater to some of the demands of Indians living overseas, introduced the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card. The OCI has been further streamlined and extensively promoted under the BJP government.

India has emerged as the top source of Australian citizenship, overtaking the United Kingdom, with over 118,000 Indian-born migrants pledging allegiance to Australia since 2013-14. [Note: India has surprised China as the largest immigrant source country in Canada, about 52,000 in 2017, India and Philippines are roughly tied in the number of new Canadian citizens in 2018]

While the OCI allows foreign nationals of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely, they can’t vote or contest an election and don’t have the right to own agricultural land in India.

Mr Tharoor argues that the people of Indian origin, many of whom have been highly successful tech-entrepreneurs and quite a few also rose to high public offices overseas, have an important stake in India.

“In the era of globalisation, more people from India will search for opportunities abroad.

“By automatically terminating their Indian citizenship when they seek citizenship of countries of residence, the law effectively cuts them off their roots and makes them feel like they do not have a real stake in their country of origin,” he told the legislators.

Dubai-based policy consultant and writer Mohamed Zeeshan argues that while many Indians acquire citizenship of countries of their residence, they remain strongly committed to their country of origin and spread India’s global influence worldwide.

“The landmark India-US nuclear deal, for instance, was aided in Washington by strong political lobbying from the Indian-American community. In 2011, Indians in Australia helped convince the then Australian government to lift a ban on uranium exports to India,” he writes.

Australian citizenship approvals plunge to 15-year low
While Australian citizenship approvals have fallen to the lowest level since 2002-03, the number of citizenship applications awaiting processing is at a record high with migrants waiting longer than ever before to pledge their allegiance to Australia.

The UAE, the United States and Saudi Arabia are the top three countries of residence for people of Indian origin outside India, together home to about 7.5 million Indians.

According to the 2016 Census, the size of the Indian diaspora in Australia was 619,164. During the five years, from 2013 to 2017, over 118,000 Indian nationals acquired Australian citizenship.

Since then, migration from India to Australia has been on the rise.

Ritesh Chugh, a senior lecturer at the Central Queensland University in Melbourne says it will “open the doors” for many possibilities for Indians and India.

“Indians living abroad are already contributing immensely to India and there’s such an enormous wealth of experience that India can benefit from further. But many see this (not having Indian citizenship) as a big hurdle in making that contribution to the full extent possible,” he told SBS Punjabi.

“For example, at the moment, the research pathways are restricted to citizens alone. If this deterrent is removed, a lot of people would like to go back and work in India as opportunities grow in India,” Mr Chugh said.

According to the Indian Passport Act, it’s an offence not to surrender the Indian passport and formally renounce Indian citizenship after acquiring foreign citizenship, which may attract penalties of up to $1,050.

Source: Bill introduced to allow dual citizenship for Indians

Is Australia headed for another citizenship saga?

Appears not, despite the heade questionr:

Bill Shorten, Jacqui Lambie and Chris Bowen are among a list of more than two dozen politicians who may not be eligible to sit in the Australian parliament.

Legal academics in Western Australia have put the constitution under the microscope and concluded that 26 MPs and senators may fall foul of the nightmarish Section 44(i).

The section disqualifies anyone who holds allegiance to a foreign country from sitting in the federal parliament.

While much of the attention during the 2017-2018 political crisis that claimed 15 scalps centred on the section’s second criteria -which covers the issue of dual citizenship – the third criteria went largely unnoticed.

‘Right of abode’ in UK

This disqualifies anyone from sitting in parliament if they are entitled to the rights and privileges of citizens of a foreign power.

This means that Australians born before January 1, 1983, to a British parent, probably still hold a ‘right of abode’ in the United Kingdom – which confers almost all the rights and privileges of a full British citizen.

‘We seem to have only scratched the surface.’

“While many Australians perhaps hoped that multiple High Court decisions and resulting by-elections would mean that the country could put the parliamentary eligibility crisis behind it, instead we seem to have only scratched the surface,” says legal academic Lorraine Finlay.

Finlay is co-author of the paper But Wait…There’s More: The Ongoing Complexities of Section 44(I), published in the University of Western Australia Law Review.

At the very least, says Finlay, the third criteria is “significantly more ambiguous” than the second.

Allegiance

And she says it would be up to the High Court to determine if the rights conferred on an Australian holding a right of abode in the UK are significant enough to create an “imputed sense of allegiance”.

Any member of a Commonwealth nation, who holds the right of abode in the UK, is free to enter and exit the UK “without hindrance”, as well as to work, study, apply for welfare, vote and stand for public office in the country.

Finlay says it is interesting to note that the rights afforded to European Union citizens in the UK are “distinct” and lesser than those afforded to Commonwealth Citizens with the right of abode in the UK.

After examining the parliamentary citizenship register, Finlay concludes there are at least 26 current parliamentarians who potentially could have the right of abode in the UK, based on the information they have provided on their British family history.

Australian politicians dual citizenship list

LABOR (14)

  • Bill Shorten (Vic), Chris Bowen (NSW), Mark Butler (SA), Nick Champion (SA), Lisa Chesters (Vic), Pat Conroy (NSW), Alexander Gallacher (SA), Katy Gallagher (ACT), Andrew Giles (Vic), Madeleine King (WA), Susan Lines (WA), Brian Mitchell (Tas), Louise Pratt (WA) and Glenn Sterle (WA).

LIBERAL (5)

  • John Alexander (NSW), Angie Bell (Qld), Ben Morton (WA), Dean Smith (WA) and Alan Tudge (Vic).

NATIONAL (3)

  • George Christensen (Qld), Patrick Conaghan (NSW) and Perin Davey (NSW).

GREENS (2)

  • Adam Bandt (Vic) and Rachel Siewart (WA).

OTHER (2)

  • One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts (Qld) and independent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie.

Challenge unlikely

For any of the above to be ruled ineligible, they would have to be challenged in the parliament and referred to the High Court.

With 14 under a cloud, it’s safe to assume Labor will let sleeping dogs lie.

And while a challenge could be to the coalition’s advantage, the Liberals and Nationals might feel the brunt of a backlash if it forces voters back to the polls for another slew of by-elections.

Finlay concludes that an examination of eligibility in light of the Commonwealth right of abode is therefore unlikely to go any further.

“(But) it demonstrates that there may still be a significant number of current Australian parliamentarians who are not actually eligible to sit in the parliament,” she says.

“Clarifying the scope and reach of section 44(i) is essential to maintain public confidence in the legitimacy of the current Australia Parliament, and also to avoid uncertainty with regards to future elections.”

Source: Is Australia headed for another citizenship saga?

Australia: The Section 44 soap opera: why more MPs could be in danger of being forced out

Good overview on the issues and likely one of the factors in relatively poor representation of visible minorities and immigrants in Australia:

One thing we learned from the recent election campaign is that the political crisis over Section 44 of the Constitution has not gone away.

Many candidates in the election had their eligibility to stand for parliament questioned and some were even forced to withdraw from their races.

Despite all the attention given to this matter over the last couple of years, and the various procedures introduced to address it, Section 44 will only continue to be a problem until the parliament steps in to address it.

To do that, we first need to address seven myths about Section 44.

1. Everyone knows their citizenship, they just need to do their paperwork

Section 44 is about more than just citizenship – it covers a variety of restrictions on who can serve in parliament.

For instance, a GP who bulk-bills a patient could be considered to have a “pecuniary interest in an agreement with the Commonwealth.” And a postman or a nurse in a public hospital could be deemed to hold “an office of profit under the Crown.”

On citizenship, the section doesn’t just disqualify dual citizens, it also bars those “entitled” to citizenship elsewhere (even if they haven’t applied for it) and those “entitled to the rights and privileges” of citizenship (basically, the “right of abode”, or being entitled to enter a country and live there).

Such entitlements are not easy to discover and almost impossible to remove, because they’re embedded in foreign legislation.

2. It doesn’t affect many people

On the contrary, the parliamentary committee investigating the matterestimated half the adult Australian population, or more, could be disqualified by law or impeded in practice from standing for parliament.

In the recent election, we saw one potential candidate withdraw because she was an Australia Post employee and another because she was entitled under Indian law to some privileges of Indian citizenship.

As a result, the Australian parliament becomes even less representative of the Australian people.

3. The constitution framers knew what they were doing

The original text agreed to at the constitutional convention in 1898 simply said anyone who had acquired foreign citizenship by their own actwas disqualified from standing for parliament.

The text that eventually became Section 44 was inserted surreptitiously by one of the key architects of the constitution (and Australia’s first prime minister), Edmund Barton, as a drafting amendment. He introduced 400 amendments on the second-to-last day of the convention, but made no mention of this change, and expressly denied there had been any changes to Section 44 apart from a minor one to another subsection.

4. The High Court has sorted it out

Far from it. Very few cases challenging Section 44 have made it that far, partly because the court has done everything possible to fend them off, including trashing the constitutional provision giving citizens the right to challenge the eligibility of parliamentarians. Politicians have also refused to refer cases to the court unless it’s advantageous to their party.

And when the court has heard a case, it has construed its task so narrowlyas to give little guidance to future action on the section. In particular, it has said nothing about the disqualification of those MPs “entitled to the rights and privileges of citizenship” in other countries.

In fact, when Senator Matthew Canavan’s eligibility was challenged because Italian laws had changed to permit citizenship to descendents of native Italians, the High Court noted that the law was fairly generous, but one had to apply. Canavan hadn’t applied, therefore couldn’t be an Italian citizen.

But if he had applied and then received Italian citizenship because he was eligible (as his brother had done), he would have been disqualified by Section 44.

This was all too much for the court to sort out. As a result, it offered no clarity on the large number of MPs whose eligibility hangs on what sorts of “entitlement” would disqualify them.

5. But there are administrative checks now, too

Well, yes, but nobody does anything about them. In 2017, all MPs were asked to fill out a form documenting their ancestry and citizenship, and the responses were then logged in a citizenship register. This showed some 15-20 MPs were entitled to foreign citizenship and a total of 59 had the “right of abode” in the UK, which the High Court has decided is the key to the “right and privilege” of citizenship.

But no action was taken on any of these cases. The register appears as a matter of record only.

Similarly, although the Australian Electoral Commission is now requiring candidates to complete a similar form, it does not take action against those who refuse to submit it, or leave sections blank. One candidate was referred to the police, but this was clearly a pointless face-saving exercise.

6. We want our MPs to be unequivocally Australian

Having foreign ancestry does not make you un-Australian. Section 44 does nothing to establish the strength of identity or loyalty – it simply prevents an undefined, but potentially very large, slice of the population from standing for parliament.

One case illustrates the ludicrous reach of the present wording.

After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, it passed a citizenship law that gave people born outside the country to Lithuanian parents the right to citizenship. In 2016, this provision was expanded to cover those with Lithuanian grandparents. As a result, Senator Doug Cameron, whose Scottish burr we are used to hearing on news broadcasts, became eligible for Lithuanian citizenship.

While Cameron could (and did) renounce his British citizenship to qualify for election to the Australian parliament, he cannot renounce his entitlement to Lithuanian citizenship. And while some people have very strong views about Cameron, I have never heard it suggested he was working to a Lithuanian agenda rather than an Australian one.

7. It’s too hard to change the Constitution

The same thing was said about amending the Marriage Act to permit same-sex couples to marry. The public recognises there’s a problem with Section 44 and it expects the politicians to fix it.

The best shot came with the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which recommended adding the words “until the parliament otherwise provides” to Section 44. This would not change the law, just where the law is made.

Instead of disqualifications being defined by the laws in foreign countries, as the High Court has interpreted Section 44, they could be determined by the Australian parliament. This is how qualifications of senators and members are currently decided. It’s also how women got the vote in 1902.

If this proposal was strongly supported by all the parties and clearly explained to the electorate, it would likely pass in the next election.

So where does this leave us?

It all comes down to leadership. Up to now, both the Coalition and Labor have been primarily motivated by partisan advantage: how can we use Section 44 to score a political point?

The Joint Standing Committee showed that with a willingness to collaborate, there is a path forward to solving the problem. The best we can hope for is that after the trauma of the last few years, and the evidence of the continuing decline in support for the main parties, political leaders will see that acting constructively on Section 44 might actually be in the best interests of both parties.

Source: The Section 44 soap opera: why more MPs could be in danger of being forced out

Is the British Home Office creating two tiers of Irish citizenship?

Of interest, as the UK grapples with the implications of Brexit and Northern Ireland:

The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) explicitly states that people born in Northern Ireland are unique within the UK in having the birthright to identify as Irish or British or both.

However, the British Home Office is now arguing through the courts that the people born in Northern Ireland are “automatically British” as they were “clearly born in the United Kingdom.”

This is not a cosmetic assertion, it’s not merely a quibble over language or intent. Making citizens of Northern Ireland automatically British against their wishes has profound implications for their lives and for the future stability of the peace there.

Critics contend that the Home Office is essentially forcing British citizenship on Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland – citizens who identify as Irish by birth and by choice.

They are also forcibly countering an option that the people of Ireland north and south voted in record numbers for in the Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998.

Take the example of an Irish national who holds an Irish passport, and who was born in Derry. The position of the Home Office is that they are a dual British/Irish national, but if they would like to fully retain and access their rights as an Irish and E.U. national in the U.K. they would have to “renounce” their British citizenship and rely solely on their Irish citizenship. Even if they have never claimed British citizenship. Even if they do not hold a British passport.

Source: Is the British Home Office creating two tiers of Irish citizenship?

British no more: Why some UK citizens face Brexit dilemma (Austria does not allow dual citizenship)

Yet another consequence of Brexit:

The number of UK citizens acquiring the nationality of another EU country has shot up since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

For many Britons living in Germany, France or Italy, dual nationality solves questions about freedom of movement to work in the EU, pensions and healthcare.

But a handful of EU countries, including Austria, do not generally allow dual citizenship.

That makes things complicated for people like British opera singer Stephen Chaundy, who has lived in Vienna with his family for many years, but often works in theatres and opera houses in Germany.

“Freedom of movement matters to me,” he says.

“I know from colleagues and friends how difficult third-country [non-EU] nationals can have it, in terms of complications of sorting out visas and work permits… and I have already had the situation where a theatre in one European country has said they’re unwilling to hear me,” he adds.

Because of this, Stephen may not be British much longer.

Surrendering Britishness

“Depending on what happens, I am seriously considering having to give up being British and asking to become Austrian,” he says.

Britons who live and work in Austria will be able to continue to do so after Brexit. But there are no guarantees for people like Stephen who rely on freedom of movement.

Jan Hillerman, the secretary of support group UK Citizens in Austria, says feelings about giving up British nationality in order to obtain an Austrian passport are very mixed.

“Some people have done that. Other people are very hesitant,” she says.

“Some people think that this might be an easy way out of the whole Brexit dilemma – but in fact it isn’t: it’ll be costly and take a lot of time.”

Jan says there have been attempts to lobby the Austrian government on the issue of dual nationality for British people after Brexit.

“But I gather that that came to naught and the Austrians have made pretty clear that that’s not on the table,” she says.

Austria does allow dual citizenship in a few exceptional cases, such as those who survived the Holocaust.

In the event of a disorderly Brexit, the Austrian government has said it will allow dual citizenship for around 25,000 Austrians living in Britain – but not for the 11,000 Britons living in Austria.

Why Austria has a problem with dual nationality

In general, the idea of dual nationality is frowned upon here – not least because of tensions with the Turkish minority in Austria.

The far-right Freedom Party – now the junior partner in Austria’s coalition government – has been behind an investigation into whether some Turks in Austria have illegally maintained both Turkish and Austrian nationalities.

Political analyst Thomas Hofer says this colours the whole issue of dual nationality.

“There was a heated debate… saying that there are a lot of Turkish people (who are) Austrian citizens living here and voting in Turkey, especially for President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan,” he says.

Since then, dual citizenship has become “a touchy issue”.

“The government in the last couple of weeks and months did everything to be very harsh and very strict… the government said that it wanted to avoid this kind of double citizenship.”

A spokesman for the Austrian government, Peter Launsky, acknowledged that Austria had “a more restrictive approach to dual citizenship”.

But he said British citizens were welcome in Austria.

“It is very important to keep stressing that Austria does and will continue to receive British citizens with open arms, irrespective of the outcome of the Brexit process,” he said.

“Any of the British citizens in Austria are extremely well qualified and make a very active and positive contribution to the Austrian labour market.

“And we are very appreciative of that fact… everything will be done to ensure as much continuity as possible, irrespective of the question of citizenship.”

On stage Stephen Chaundy moves smoothly back and forth between the Viennese and English-speaking repertoire.

His latest role was as a Habsburg aristocrat, Count Tassilo – the lead in the classic Viennese operetta Graefin Mariza, at the Theatre Magdeburg in Germany. He is about to go to the Cologne Opera to play Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.

But in life it is not so simple.

“Although I’ve spent over a third of my life in Austria, I am a Londoner, an Englishman, a Brit – but I’m also European and a big, big part of me is, of course, deeply attached to Austria,” he said.

“If Austria would permit dual nationality I would have taken it in a heartbeat. They are both parts of who I am. They’re both parts of my adult life.

“They’re both parts of my identity and it feels terribly unjust and unfair to have to be asked to choose.”

Source: British no more: Why some UK citizens face Brexit dilemma

Sajid Javid: difficult to strip Shamima Begum of UK citizenship

An important nuance to the UK’s citizenship revocation policy – must already have another citizenship, not just (theoretically) be able to obtain one:

Sajid Javid has indicated it could prove hugely difficult to strip Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship, telling MPs such action would not normally be taken against someone without another nationality and who was born in Britain.

Answering questions before the home affairs committee, Javid refused to discuss specifically the case of the 19-year-old, who travelled from east London to Syria to join Islamic State in 2015, but wants to return with her newborn baby.

But speaking more generally about the policy of stripping citizenship from UK nationals who are deemed a danger to the country, the home secretary said this action had never been taken if it would have left someone stateless.

“If an individual only has one citizenship, then generally the power cannot be used because by definition if you took away their British citizenship they would be stateless,” Javid said in answer to a question from the former Labour MP John Woodcock.

“I certainly haven’t done that and I am not aware that one of my predecessors has done that in a case where they know an individual only has one citizenship, as that would be breaking international law as we understand it.”

Last week, it emerged that the Home Office had written to Begum’s family to inform them an order was being made under the 1981 British Nationality Act, which allows the home secretary to remove someone’s citizenship if they are “satisfied that deprivation is conducive to the public good”.

A 2014 amendment to the Nationality Act allows UK citizenship to be removed if there are “reasonable grounds for believing” the person would be able to become a citizen of another country.

Asked about this by Woodcock, Javid stressed this could happen only if the person involved was a naturalised UK citizen originally from another country.

Javid said: “I have not deployed the power on the basis that someone could have citizenship to a second country. I’ve always applied it on the strict advice of legal advisers in the Home Office and more broadly in the government that when the power is deployed, with respect to that individual, they already have more than one citizenship.”

This measure had never seemingly been used, he added: “I have not used that power, and to the best of my knowledge none of my predecessors have used the power that was given in 2014.”

Begum’s family has stressed she does not have Bangladeshi citizenship, while Bangladesh has also said she does not, and will not be allowed into the country.

Assuming she does not have Bangladeshi nationality, it appears hard to see how Javid could enforce the order set out in the letter, which has prompted criticism that he was seeking to exploit populist feeling without proper attention to the law.

Javid was asked by the Labour MP Kate Green whether it was “morally right to export the problem” to Bangladesh, rather than deal with Begum through UK courts.

The home secretary argued that his priority had to be to protect the UK. Asked again if he thought this was morally suspect, he added: “I’m afraid I just don’t see it like that.”

He also confirmed that Begum’s baby would be a UK national, saying that children of British-born mothers had that right. However, he added, it would be “incredibly difficult” to assist the infant, as Begum was in a refugee camp in northern Syria.

Begum left the UK along with two schoolfriends. Her case was thrust back into the spotlight last week when she declared her wish to return for the sake of her child in an interview with the Times.

Source: Sajid Javid: difficult to strip Shamima Begum of UK citizenship

The Great British Race to Get a Second Passport

Good overview:

For the vast majority of British citizens who oppose a no-deal Brexit, the state of play in Parliament is dismaying. Although many members of Parliament are resolutely opposed to the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union come March 29, the reality remains that no deal is their default option: Should Prime Minister Theresa May be unable to find support for her withdrawal agreement—which, by every indication, will be the case—Britain will have no choice but to leave the EU on the severest of terms.

Among the most vulnerable in this scenario are the 1.3 million British citizens currently living in Europe. They would have only a year and change to reorganize their lives, until December 2020, when the Brexit transition period ends and their rights to remain expire. A number of advocacy groups have joined together in a coalition called British in Europe in order to raise awareness and lobby lawmakers. But so far these groups—including the Brexpats, Bremain in Spain, RIFT(Remain in France Together), BRILL (British Immigrants Living in Luxembourg), and others—have struggled like everyone else to move the needle. For its part, the EU has encouragedmember states to “take a generous approach to the rights of UK citizens in the EU, provided that this approach is reciprocated by the UK.” Whether the U.K. will ultimately reciprocate, seeing as the free movement of people was a lightning rod of the Brexit referendum, is far from guaranteed.

Even if the British government fails to retain access to Europe, however, British citizens living at home and abroad may be able to find a way on their own. The solution: a second passport. Across the English Channel lies an obscure but inviting matrix of citizenship and residency laws that, for some, promises to keep alive the freedom to live and work throughout the continent. And in a nation where 48 percent of voters, or 16 million individuals, voted to stay in the EU, the opportunity to do so—albeit in a different form—is sure to be appealing.

Of the British citizens living in Europe, 310,000 are in Spain, 280,000 are in Ireland, 190,000 are in France, 107,000 are in Germany, and 64,000 are in Italy—followed by a significant drop-off to a smattering in other countries around the continent. Fortunately for these British citizens, and for the handful living elsewhere, passports are not particularly difficult to come by (at least compared with other parts of the world). And seeing as the number of British citizens with dual EU nationality increased by 159 percent in the year after the referendum, many have already realized how to escape a fate they did not choose.

Roughly speaking, second passports can be obtained in three ways: organically, financially, or ancestrally. The organic route to the passport is perhaps the most difficult as it requires lengthy naturalization processes. Ireland, for example, which saw a staggering 497 percent increase in new citizenship for British people in the pre- and post-Brexit years of 2014 to 2015 and 2016 to 2017, requires applicants to prove residency for five of the past nine years. France, which has seen a 226 percentincrease, is even stricter, with the same five-year residency requirement plus proficiency in French, proof of integration, and a citizenship test. Germany, which has seen a remarkable 835 percent increase in citizenship for Brits, is stricter still, with requirements of six years of residency, language proficiency, a citizenship test, and an integration course. Although the British government estimates that 900,000citizens are “long-term residents” of another EU country, it is by no means a given that all or most of them will meet their host country’s naturalization criteria. And while marriage can offer a bit of a shortcut, restrictions still apply—Ireland requires three years of marriage, France requires four with three spent in the country, and Germany requires two years of marriage along with three years of residency. For the British citizens who have suddenly been struck by the possibility of no deal, meeting requirements and spouses will be a tall task.

For a murky few, however, a much easier path is available in the form of “golden passports.” This is the financial route to citizenship, a backdoor into the EU that can be accessed through foreign direct investment for five-, six-, or seven-digit sums, often coming in the form of real estate purchases. The BBC has the figures: On the lower end, Croatian passports will cost 13,500 euros. On the higher end, a Luxembourg or Slovenian passport can cost upwards of 5 million euros. For price tags in the middle, wealthy people can get away to Greecefor a quarter of a million euros, Spain for a half a million euros, Malta for a million euros, Cyprus for 2 million euros, and more. However, the elitism and corruptibility of the golden passport scheme hasn’t gone unnoticed, and only a few months after a report from Global Witness and Transparency International detailed the more than 6,000 unaccounted new citizens, 100,000 new residents, and 25 billion euros gained through golden passport programs, the European Commission launched its own inquiry into the peculiar “investor citizenship” arrangements. The results of that inquiry were released last week and made the case for tougher security checks, more rigorous residency requirements, and better transparency. And although they did not go nearly as far as some had hoped, the very fact of the report’s existence suggests that the golden backdoor will eventually be closed.

The final path to a second passport, the ancestral option, emerges as both the least demanding and the least expensive. For some countries, such as Italy and Ireland, the generous principle of jus sanguinis invites anyone who can prove their ancestral ties to the country (with birth or citizenship records in a direct line of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or great-great-grandparents) to claim a passport of their own. It is difficult to determine just how many people actually qualify, and in some cases those eligible may not even know. But the eagerness among many to find out is eminently clear: Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs reported a twofold increase at the same time that one Italian law firm reported a tenfold increase in pre- and post-Brexit passport applications.

The ancestral option offered by other countries, however, has the much darker dimension of reparations and restorations for some of the most heinous offenses in the history of Europe. This variety of ancestral passports begins with allocations for Soviet exiles and their descendants, offered by Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. So far, these states have not reported much traffic, but this is quite likely to change given the 25,000Baltic men and women who came to Britain in the 1940s and the thousands more who came in the decades after.

For Germany and Austria, where descendants of the victims of the Third Reich are also offered citizenship, applications have surged. In pre- and post-Brexit years, new Austrian citizenship among Brits has risen 112 percent. The number of applicants to Germany’s specific reparations program has swelled even more, by an astounding 1,500 percent. While Poland offers the same program to Soviet and Nazi victims, exiles, and their descendants, it has been somewhat less popular, seeing only a 100 percent increase in citizenship.

Going back even further in the timeline of Europe’s atrocities, Spain and Portugal offer citizenship to Sephardic Jews who are descendants of victims of the 15th-century Inquisition, the mass exile of Jews and Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula that began in 1492. (Somewhat controversially, however, passports are not granted to Muslims whose Moorish ancestors suffered the same fates.) Since Spain and Portugal extended this offer, some 10,000 special passports have been granted—with an eightyfold increase in British-based applications in the months following the referendum.

Proactive though some European states are, one glaring absence in the list of victim and ancestral passports cannot be overlooked: colonies. It remains the case across Europe that the victims of colonization and their descendants are marginalized in the accounting of Europe’s faults as no major reparations program, citizenship-based or otherwise, is offered. And even though reparations for some do exist, many victims and their family members have been rightfully reluctant to seize the opportunity. Shortly after the referendum, Harry Heber, an 85-year-old Austrian-Jewish refugee, told the Guardian, “The proposition of seeking sanctuary in the very place that murdered my relatives absolutely appalls me.”

Dual citizenship in Africa: ‘Benefits outweigh disadvantages’

Good overview of African citizenship policies:

Several African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Ethiopia, reject dual nationalities for their citizens. In these countries the fear of people with two citizenships seems to be acute.

There are a number of African heads of state and high-ranking politicians who have dual citizenship themselves or roots in another country. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is a citizen of Somalia and the United States. Liberia’s former head of state Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has German and Liberian roots. Moise Katumbi, a leading DRC opposition politician, was an Italian citizen for 17 years. For this reason he was banned from running in the 2018 presidential election.

Pride or politics?

While the DRC does not recognize dual citizenship, an exception is made for children born abroad. They are allowed to keep both nationalities until they come of age at 21. Then they have a year to renounce one of their citizenships. An Ethiopian law of 1930 stipulates that Ethiopians acquiring another nationality will cease to be Ethiopians. Foreigners who want to become Ethiopians need to prove that they’ve already renounced or are able to renounce their original citizenship.

Tanzania also does not allow dual citizenship. In 2007, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe presented a report which recommended an amendment to this law. But the government argued that such a change represented a threat to peace, security and the Tanzanian population’s livelihood.

An infografic showing how African countries deal with dual citizenship

“It’s all a mystery, because the benefits outweigh the so-called disadvantages,” Ahmed Rajab of the Pan-African Institute for Strategic Studies, told DW. “The main benefits are to the economies of these countries,” he said. “Maybe it’s a question of pride. Maybe these countries are so proud of their nationality that they don’t want any of their citizens to acquire another citizenship.” Legalization would not bring about any new problems. On the contrary: “It has been proved in the case of Ghana, for example, or even Kenya, that the country benefits from the inflow of funds from the countries of the citizens who have dual nationality.” Ghana legalized dual citizenship in 2002. Kenya followed suit in 2011.

African leaders do not want to be challenged

Tanzanian analyst Gwandumi Mwakatobe believes there is more to the rejection of dual citizenship than mere pride. Many people often do not know where to get their information from so they believe whatever their president says. Mwakatobe believes that this works to the advantage of African heads of state. People with dual citizenship who live abroad “are exposed to so many things. They know so many issues regarding politics, regarding human rights. And they are very vocal. They criticize their country. They challenge the leaders from their original countries. Many African leaders don’t want to be challenged,” Mwakatobe told DW.

Two hands holding several Malian passports (picture alliance / Godong)Mali is one of the African countries that allow dual nationality

“I think that is a threat,” analyst Ahmed Rajab agrees. African leaders view people with dual citizenship as foreigners and don’t want them to participate in politics. “Because they have ideas on democracy, democratic processes and on how to run politics. It goes against the grain of the Ethiopian political environment, for example,” Rajab said. Dual citizens are banned from local politics in Ethiopia.

‘We are world citizens’

Gwandumi Mwakatobe considers this to be a useless strategy. “There is nothing you can hide in this world today, due to the communication technology. Even in the DR Congo, where they cut the internet, they were still communicating,” he said. The analyst also believes that states will benefit from allowing their citizens to have dual nationality. “We have to put in place good systems, good laws, that can guide us to make sure that we prosper,” he said. Increased business, transport of goods and networking with people abroad are just a few advantages of dual citizenship, Mwakatobe pointed out.

He would like every African country to build a bridge to the diaspora, to ease the way home for people with dual citizenship. “That is very important, because we are all citizens of this world, and not from one nation or the other. The whole world is ours. We are world citizens.”

Source: Dual citizenship in Africa: ‘Benefits outweigh disadvantages’

Australia – Guns, climate change and dual citizenship: Cabinet papers shed light on early Howard years

Always interesting to see how previous governments grappled with issues, in this case the Australian government under PM Howard, and how officials provided significant advice that for some reason was ignored, resulting in the recent crisis regarding parliamentarians who were dual citizens:

Creating dual citizenship

In April 1996, then-Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said it was “urgent” to move ahead with reforms that would allow Australian citizens to pick up a second citizenship for the first time.

Back then, Australians automatically lost their citizenship if they acquired another nationality. 

Mr Ruddock said this was inconsistent. Migrants to Australia were often allowed to keep their home citizenships, but dual-citizenship was off-limits to natural-born Australians.

It would be another six years before the Howard government changed the law in 2002 — but the 1996 submission got the ball rolling.

The minister was concerned about some backlash from RSL groups, but said the prohibition was a matter of “great concern” to those affected.

He compared Australia with the countries that allowed dual citizenship at the time — like France, New Zealand, the USA, Israel and Syria — and those that did not, like Indonesia, Iran, Norway and Austria.

If only they knew

Right at the end of the submission, officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet make a prescient warning.

Allowing Australians to become dual citizens was all well and good — but it could cause problems for parliamentarians down the line. 

“Acceptance of the proposals would increase the disparity between the qualifications for citizenship and those for elected office,” the department wrote.

Under Section 44 of the Constitution, politicians are not allowed to run for office if they hold a dual nationality.

The unprecedented High Court drama of 2018 proved them correct, as more than 10 senators and MPs were ejected from their seats.

Source: Guns, climate change and dual citizenship: Cabinet papers shed light on early Howard years