Africa Coming to Terms With a Growing Diaspora’s Dual Citizenship

Of interest:

Earlier this year, Jawar Mohammed, the prominent political activist and media entrepreneur, who had returned home to Ethiopia from the US, looked set to challenge his former ally, prime minister Abiy Ahmed, in the country’s election. But there was immediately uncertainty created over Jawar’s eligibility simply because he had been a US citizen. Ethiopian law does not allow dual nationality and even though he written letters saying he’s renounced his US citizenship that uncertainty remains.

Jawar’s case is one of many that highlights an increasingly common issue for many African countries, who after years of battles with Western imperialism and colonial rule were determined at independence for their citizens to literally pick a side and not be allowed to carry the passports of other countries.

But in the 60 years since independence across the continent, the forces of globalization and transatlantic migration has seen dual nationality come up more frequently as an issue which needs to be addressed across politics and business through to sports.

Back in 1985, Saudi Arabia’s soccer authorities initially refused to hand over the trophy of the Afro-Asian Cup after losing to Cameroon in the finals of the tournament. They claimed Cameroon had fielded an ineligible player who was none other than legendary star Roger Milla, who had traveled to Jeddah on a French passport as he couldn’t also have a Cameroonian one.

Now, Cameroon is considering a revision of its nationality code which was enacted in 1968. The current law stipulates any Cameroonian adult who willfully acquires a foreign nationality automatically loses their Cameroon nationality.

But a new draft bill—a copy of which Quartz Africa has seen—says “a Cameroonian who has acquired another nationality shall retain Cameroon nationality unless it is expressly relinquished by the concerned.” The bill is expected to pass through with little challenge.

Some African governments have been reluctant to legalize dual citizenship, arguing the patriotism of people with dual citizenship could be questioned. But there’s also anecdotal evidence some of these governments are more concerned an influential and economically independent diaspora, able to move freely between countries, could support a challenge to the leadership.

Passport limits

By 2010, a comprehensive study showed that 21 African countries, including DR Congo, Liberia, Algeria and Zimbabwe, prohibited dual citizenship. Meanwhile, 23 others permitted dual citizenship under certain circumstances like if acquired by marriage to a foreign spouse or allowed for citizens from birth only. Other countries did not address the issue of dual citizenship in their laws.

Despite these restrictions it is not unusual among middle class Africans to find people holding dual nationality in countries which don’t allow dual nationality, in part because many countries don’t have comprehensive systems for checking until they vie for office. In 2017, up to two-thirds of the presidential candidates in Somalia’s election held foreign passports while as many as 100 of its 275 legislators also held foreign passports. Eventual winner, now president, Mohamed Farmaajo, also held American citizenship. He had previously worked for the state transportation department in  Buffalo, New York.

Many African countries today have sizable diaspora communities, notably in Europe and North America, with an increasing economic, social and political influence aided by the improvement in communications and travel networks over the last couple of decades.

The World Bank estimates the African diaspora around the world at 30.6 million, but the figure could be even higher when unrecorded African migrants are considered. In 2019, remittance inflow from the African diaspora topped $48 billion. Such remittances in 2010 contributed to 2.6% of the continent’s GDP.

The IMF has estimated the African diaspora save an around $53 billion every year outside of the continent. There is a belief that if it was easier to invest in their countries of origin as dual nationals more of those savings would come to Africa.

Last year, Ethiopia’s parliament passed a bill to allow members of the Ethiopian diaspora, who have taken up nationalities in other countries, to invest, buy shares, and set up lending businesses in the country’s state-dominated financial sector.

Ghana seems to be one of the African countries which has been quick to recognise the potential of its diaspora and the advantage of granting them the possibility to hold dual citizenship. As early as 2000, it passed a law to recognize dual nationality for its citizens. The government of Ghana has since made efforts to attract its Ghanaian origin and other African descendant diaspora to return home, with the Year of Return, Ghana 2019 recording remarkable success.

Practicalities

Many African professionals and businessmen at home and in the diaspora want to pick up foreign passports for very practical reasons—they want to be able to move freely around the globe.

According to the Africa Visa Openness Report 2019, on average, Africans can only travel to 25% of other African countries without a visa. But holders of passports from North America and Europe can travel visa-free to more African countries than Africans.

Henley & Partners, the global citizenship and residency advisory firm which is set to open an office in Lagos, has pointed out that most Nigerians wishing to subscribe to their offerings have no plans to relocate. Instead, they just want to have a passport which makes it easier to travel without the unpredictability of visa applications.

The latest Henley Passport Index shows that two of Africa’s most populated countries, Nigeria and Ethiopia occupy the 97th and 98thpositions respectively on the index. The Nigerian passport offers its holders visa-free travel to just 46 countries mostly in Africa, while the number is 44 for Ethiopia.

Source: Africa Coming to Terms With a Growing Diaspora’s Dual Citizenship

China could keep dual citizenship Canadians from leaving Hong Kong amid protests: lawyer

Legitimate worry:

A Canadian legal activist is warning the federal government to grant asylum to democracy activists in Hong Kong and expanded settlement to those with links to Canada before China prevents them from leaving.

The warning came Monday from Avvy Go, the director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, which has already helped bring Hong Kong pro-democracy activists to Canada.

There are 300,000 Canadians of Hong Kong descent in China, and Go says if Ottawa doesn’t act now to accommodate those who want to leave, Beijing will prevent them from leaving in the future.

“The time to act is now. As China continues to crack down on the democracy movement in Hong Kong, it may soon find ways to prohibit Hong Kong activists from leaving that city, period,” Go said Monday at a joint video press conference hosted by Amnesty International.

“Even with those who are Canadian citizens, China may refuse to recognize their dual citizenship status and deny their exit from Hong Kong.”

MPs from the four major Canadian political parties and one independent senator stood in solidarity with the proposals Go put forward at a virtual press conference convened by Amnesty International.

Canada, along with the United States, Britain and Australia, have condemned Beijing’s imposition of a new national security law that they say violates Hong Kong’s freedom from Chinese communist interference.

“This is the Beijing government’s most breathtaking, threatening and callous attack yet … discarding any pretence of fulfilling China’s international promises made when Hong Kong was handed over in 1997,” said Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty’s Canadian branch.

Go called on the federal government to implement several immigration and asylum measures, to help people get out of Hong Kong before it is too late. They are:

— Expediting family sponsorship applications by Canadians with spouses and parents in Hong Kong.

— Expanding family-reunification sponsorship programs beyond parents and spouses.

— Issuing more temporary-resident permits, work visas and student visas.

— Granting refugee status to democracy advocates, and offering them stepped-up resettlement options.

Last year, Hong Kong residents took to the streets in mass protests against a proposed extradition law from Beijing that was eventually abandoned.

During that unrest, Go’s clinic received requests from Canadians of Hong Kong descent whose relatives participated in pro-democracy protests, she said.

Since Beijing announced the new security law, the clinic is getting calls from Canadians who are worried about their families even though they may not have been involved with the democracy movement, said Go.

“These are our people. And as parliamentarians dedicated to promoting and protecting democracy, we cannot stand by silently. I endorse all of the actions,” said Independent Sen. Marilou McPhedran.

McPhedran said she has travelled across Africa and seen the effect of China’s massive development spending, an influence-buying effort that many analysts say is a power play by Beijing’s ruling communist party.

“The weaponization of economic support is something that we need to understand better as we look at what is happening in Hong Kong,” said McPhedran.

“The violation of the Hong Kong Basic Law, which is the essence of what China is saying it is going to do, is in fact a precursor to threats to democracies in many other countries as well.”

Conservative MP Kenny Chiu, who was born in Hong Kong, said the people of his homeland respect human rights and the rule of law, and they are prepared to commemorate Thursday’s anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre that saw the Chinese army kill scores of pro-democracy student protesters in 1989.

“We’re witnessing in Hong Kong basic dictatorship in disguise, exerting its power out of fear for these values,” said Chiu.

Source: China could keep dual citizenship Canadians from leaving Hong Kong amid protests: lawyer

COVID-19: Thousands of Canadians getting US$1,200 cheques simply because they’re still U.S. citizens

Including, presumably Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Green leader Elizabeth May:

Thousands of people in Canada can expect a letter shortly from the U.S. Treasury Department.

However, you’re (probably) not in trouble. In fact, you’re most likely receiving a US$1,200 cheque thanks to America’s stimulus package.

One of the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic put in place by the U.S. government was Economic Impact Payments. Through it, most current American citizens who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 will automatically be sent US$1,200 ($1,680) as long they make less than US$75,000 if they are single or US$150,000 if married.

And that includes U.S. citizens in Canada. Unlike Canadian benefit programs put in place during the pandemic, the U.S. program doesn’t require beneficiaries to live in their own country.

“The reason being that the U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that tax based on citizenship. So a U.S. citizen, wherever they live in the world, is always subject to U.S. tax, which is different than Canada,” said Mark Feigenbaum, an Ontario-based attorney and accountant specialized in cross-border taxes.

But that doesn’t mean his Canadian clients aren’t surprised when the money suddenly arrives in their mailboxes.

“I get a couple of pictures of cheques every day from clients,” he said. “First of all, they weren’t maybe even aware that they were supposed to get a cheque, and secondly, that they were even qualified for a cheque. And then they got a bunch of money.”

According to Statistics Canada 2016 census data, 284,870 people in Canada declared having U.S. citizenship.

One of them is Charles Lewis, a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen who received a cheque in the mail last week.

“I read three weeks ago that the payment was coming to those who file so when it did come I was not surprised at all. It came in an envelope from the U.S. Treasury Department. Soon as I looked at the envelope I knew what it was. I had to laugh that Trump’s name was on the cheque, given it’s not his money,” Lewis told the National Post.

“I think those who get it and were not really in need should donate it to charity, which is what I’m going to do. It’s really found money. I did nothing to earn it. Though filling out all those tax forms every year was a pain in the ass.”

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the agency that administers the Economic Impact Payment program, nearly 750,000 stimulus cheques have gone out to “foreign addresses,” totalling $1.2 billion.

But the IRS can’t say how many of those went to people in Canada.

“Foreign addresses doesn’t necessarily imply non-Americans. Members of the military and U.S. citizens who live or work abroad would be in that category, along with non-citizens who may have, for tax purposes, U.S. resident alien status,” spokesman Eric Smith said via email.

“The domestic numbers likely also include resident aliens, and Canadians are likely in both the domestic and foreign categories,” Smith said.

A large number of U.S. citizens living in Canada are also interested in finding out how they can get their hands on an American stimulus cheque.

According to Steve Nardi, chair of Democrats Abroad Canada, a workshop his group hosted a few weeks ago about the American stimulus package attracted 600 people, 80 per cent of whom were from Canada.

“In the last two weeks, I’ve had another thousand people on tax filing webinars, and most of them are interested in at least accessing the information about the stimulus cheques,” Nardi said in an interview.

He said he’s mainly encountered two groups of recipients: those who knew from the very start that they’d receive a cheque, and those who were stunned (and sometimes concerned) when the money arrived at their door.

“I had emails from members asking if they were eligible, and the only thing that happened at that point was the Senate approved the (stimulus) bill late the night before. It hadn’t even gotten across the building to the House yet,” he recounted.

“And then we’ve had others who were completely shocked that they would be eligible with no expectation.”

But be warned, if you’re an American in Canada who’s eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) because you lost your job due to COVID-19, you may want to think twice before cashing that US$1,200 cheque.

To be eligible to receive CERB payments, you have to have made less than $1,000 in the period during which you’re applying. Depending on if the Canada Revenue Agency determines that stimulus money from the American government is revenue or not, depositing that cheque from the U.S. may make you ineligible for CERB.

Employment and Social Development Canada was not able to provide a comment.

Source: COVID-19: Thousands of Canadians getting US$1,200 cheques simply because they’re still U.S. citizens

Scheer didn’t follow through on renouncing U.S. citizenship

Further embarrassment, with a number of prominent Conservatives understandably calling for a new interim leader:

Outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer still holds his U.S. citizenship, after stating during the 2019 federal election campaign that he was in the process of renouncing it.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period with Evan Solomon, Scheer said that after deciding to step down as leader, he halted the process.

“Knowing that I won’t be prime minister, I discontinued that process,” Scheer said.

During the fall federal election campaign, Scheer confirmed that he had dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship after it was first reported by The Globe and Mail, saying he was in the process of renouncing his American citizenship.

When the story of his dual citizenship first broke in October, Scheer said he met with embassy representatives in August to renounce his citizenship and had submitted his paperwork to formalize it.

However, that paperwork was never formalized, and so Scheer continues to hold dual citizenship status. Asked why the change of heart, Scheer cited “personal reasons.”

He could not say when exactly he stopped the process of dropping his American citizenship.

“I’d have to go back and check,” he said.

In December, Scheer announced his intention to step down as leader, as soon as a replacement was picked. At the time he said it was “one of the most difficult decisions” he has ever made.

The controversy surrounding his citizenship amid the campaign was cited as one of the issues Scheer faced during his attempt to win over voters and defeat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberal Party in the last federal election.

At the time, Scheer was questioned as to why it took him two years from when he took the helm of the federal Conservative party to begin the process of renouncing his U.S. citizenship, which he received from his father who was born there.

Scheer said the delay was because he was focused on rebuilding the party and preparing for the campaign, and said the reason he hadn’t spoken about it was that: “No one’s ever asked me before.”

Scheer has filed taxes in the U.S., but has never voted in a U.S. election, his campaign said in the fall.

Scheer’s office later told CTVNews.ca that while he remains an American citizen, Scheer has not received the one-time direct aid payment the U.S. government sent to adult citizens amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Under federal elections law there aren’t any rules prohibiting dual citizens from running to become an MP or campaigning to be the prime minister, though in the past the Conservatives and Scheer specifically have been critical of other leaders’ citizenship status.

Back in 2005 Scheer sought input from his constituents, asking whether they were bothered by former Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean’s French citizenship in a blog post about her appointment.

During the 2008 federal election campaign, Stephane Dion also faced questions from Conservatives about his French citizenship.

The race to replace him is underway with four candidates in the running. Party members have a deadline of August 21 to submit their mail-in ballot.

Once the new leader is named, Scheer said he intends to stay on as the MP for Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask., and that he plans to run again in the next federal election.

“I hope to be able to earn their trust again in the next election. I love my riding in Saskatchewan, and I’m looking forward to spending more time there,” he said.

Source: Scheer didn’t follow through on renouncing U.S. citizenship

Japan’s ban on multiple citizenship outdated, unconstitutional: expert, plaintiffs

Will be interesting to see results:

Japan’s Nationality Act, which forbids multiple citizenship, is again in the spotlight after tennis player Naomi Osaka selected Japanese citizenship over American nationality in 2019. Meanwhile, there is an ongoing legal battle being waged by plaintiffs arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

Over 70% of member states of the United Nations permit their people to have more than one citizenship. In a world where it’s become quite common to see individuals from diverse backgrounds and for people to compete on the global stage, some experts are demanding that Japan do the same.

The Japanese Nationality Act stipulates that a child born to a Japanese parent is legally Japanese. Meanwhile, some nations have a system where a child born in such countries to a Japanese parent becomes a dual citizen of that place and Japan.

The Japanese law requires anyone who was born with or obtained multiple nationality before the age of 20 to pick one of them before their 22nd birthday. Those who acquire citizenship of another country after turning 20 must decide which one to keep within a two-year period.

Naomi Osaka held both Japanese and U.S. citizenships but decided to keep her Japanese citizenship before she turned 22. Her choice has been seen as an indication of her desire to compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as a Japanese tennis player.

But because individuals who choose to keep their Japanese nationality are only “obliged to make an effort” to give up other citizenships, there are people in Japan who continue to hold two or more passports. According to a 2018 estimate by the Justice Ministry, about 925,000 Japanese have multiple citizenship.

Furthermore, foreigners wanting to acquire Japanese nationality are required to submit a certificate showing they have forfeited their original citizenship. But those from countries without renunciation procedures can also become dual citizens. On the other hand, Japanese people who choose a foreign nationality “of their own will” automatically have their Japanese citizenship revoked.

Hitoshi Nogawa, 76, a businessperson from Switzerland, is one of eight plaintiffs who have filed a suit against the Japanese government arguing that “depriving people who obtained foreign nationality of Japanese citizenship against their will is a violation of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to pursue happiness and other privileges.”

Nogawa, who effectively lost his Japanese citizenship for acquiring Swiss nationality, said, “I identify as Japanese, but it feels like I’ve become half a person. I feel bad for my ancestors and, in the current situation, I don’t plan on being buried with them.”

Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, Nogawa moved to Switzerland in his 20s and established a trading company. In order to bid on a public works project, he needed Swiss citizenship, which he obtained in 2001. He did not encounter any trouble until 2013, when he was told by the Japanese Embassy there, “If you don’t choose one (nationality), it’s going to be a problem.”

The request is based on the Nationality Act, which stipulates that people who acquire foreign citizenship lose their Japanese nationality, and requires them to submit a citizenship renunciation notification.

For Nogawa, giving up his Swiss nationality would have posed a problem for his work and discarding his Japanese citizenship would have meant losing his identity. Caught in a dilemma, he refused to respond to the embassy’s request and did not submit the notification. In 2015, he tried to renew his Japanese passport but was rejected. To this day, he has not been able to renew it.

Nogawa and seven others living overseas filed a suit with the Tokyo District Court in March 2018. Six of the plaintiffs, who have already acquired citizenships of different countries, are demanding confirmation that they are in possession of their Japanese citizenship, and two others who seek to obtain foreign nationality are looking for confirmation that they will not lose their Japanese citizenship when they do so.

The stipulation in the Nationality Act that bans multiple citizenship has not been revised since it first went into force under the Meiji Constitution, Japan’s prewar and wartime supreme law. Teruo Naka, a lawyer of the plaintiffs’ legal team says the law “does not correspond to the flow of the times.”

In contrast, the government argues that “people having multiple citizenship could cause friction between nations depending on which country’s protection they come under” among other counterarguments. The Justice Ministry, which enforces the Nationality Act’s provisions, explains that “the withdrawal of Japanese citizenship is not a deprivation, and reacquisition is allowed if necessary.” The suit is proceeding at the district court.

As of 2019, around 150, or 75% of United Nations member states, permit multiple nationalities. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.”

Teru Sasaki, professor of transnational sociology at Aomori Public University, conducted an online survey of Japanese citizens in 2019, in which around 60% of the 3,171 respondents supported the option, “Japanese citizens who obtain a foreign nationality should not have to lose their Japanese citizenship.”

The study results suggest that “society is tolerant of multiple nationalities, and there is a gap between the sense of ordinary citizens and the legal system,” said Sasaki.

Employment regulations for some civil servants, including Diet members, require that they have Japanese citizenship, and people who have foreign nationality cannot become diplomats. To permit multiple citizenship, discussions on job restrictions may also be necessary.

Source: Japan’s ban on multiple citizenship outdated, unconstitutional: expert, plaintiffs

Kuleba: Ukrainians from diaspora should be allowed dual citizenship

Ongoing discussions and floating of the idea:

Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Dmytro Kuleba believes that granting Ukrainians the right to dual citizenship will allow Ukraine to more effectively use the potential of compatriots from the diaspora who seek to help their homeland.

The told the ZN.UA (Dzerkalo Tyzhnia.Ukraine) there are several reasons for granting Ukrainians the right to dual citizenship (he emphasized that he expressed his personal opinion, not the one of the entire government).

“If new representatives of the diaspora with Canadian or U.S. citizenship but ready to work for our country appear in the Ukrainian government in the future, the Ukrainian state should have a ready-made model of cooperation with them but not invent all kinds of schemes,” the deputy prime minister said.

He believes that liberalization of citizenship policy will make it possible to keep in the Ukrainian space millions of Ukrainians who left Ukraine and obtained the citizenship of another country, but who want to keep in touch with their homeland.

“We should not tear these people away. We have already lost so many,” the official added.

In addition, according to Kuleba, the state’s tolerant attitude towards second citizenship will solve the issue of tens of thousands of Ukrainians having Hungarian and Romanian passports, which many received only for the sake of a quiet movement in the European Union. By and large, according to the deputy premier, this should remove one of the acute problems in relations between Ukraine and neighboring countries.

At the same time, Kuleba categorically rejects the possibility of Ukraine’s recognizing Russian citizenship as the second one.

“The right of dual citizenship should not under any circumstances apply to the aggressor country,” he said.

Source: Kuleba: Ukrainians from diaspora should be allowed dual citizenship

Opinion: It’s time for India to adopt dual citizenship

An issue, particularly for the highly skilled and mobile:

As Abhijit Banerjee’s Nobel Prize was announced, a reporter in Kolkata asked his mother about his citizenship, pointing out that he became a US citizen in 2017. “He travels a lot,” his mother explained.

The Indian passport ranks a poor 86 as of 2019, down from 77 in 2010. This rank signifies how many countries give visa-free entry or visa-on-arrival to the passport-holder. With a large number of poor people, India is one of the world’s biggest sources of illegal immigrants (311 Indians have just been deported from Mexico). Developed countries are not going to give the Indian passport easy access into their airports anytime soon, no matter how much of a world ‘power’ anyone thinks India has become.

It is for this reason that talented and wealthy Indians who travel frequently and live abroad tend to take foreign citizenship. The act of taking foreign citizenship, for most Indians, is not ‘anti-national’ but a matter of convenience. Anyone who has filled up a US or UK visa form will empathise.

Between 2014 and 2017, 4.5 lakh Indians opted for citizenship of another country. As foreign countries offer easy citizenship in exchange for cash and investments, the trend is only set to grow.

It is plain silly for the Indian government to not offer dual citizenship to such Indians. Eighty-five countries in the world offer dual citizenship. India needs to join this long list to avoid embarrassments such as an Indian winning the Nobel Prize but not beingan Indian citizen.

 

Overseas unCitizen of India

India does offer something called the “Overseas Citizen of India” card. Yet, these “overseas citizens” are not citizens because India doesn’t have the option of dual nationality.

The OCI status amounts to partial citizenship. It removes all barriers to entering, exiting, living and working in India. What it doesn’t allow is the right to vote.

If you don’t like Abhijit Banerjee, think of Akshay Kumar. At some point in his life, the Bollywood actor took Canadian citizenship, probably to enable easy international travel. At another point in his life, he decided to re-brand himself as a great nationalist from an action hero, because that was the flavour of the season. As people questioned how his nationalist credentials could go hand-in-hand with his Canadian citizenship, Akshay Kumar claimed it was an honorary citizenship, a lie that was nailed. 

Had India allowed Akshay Kumar to call himself a dual citizen, vote in elections, have an Indian passport alongside his Canadian passport, what would happen? Would the heavens fall? Would it cause climate change?

It is an emotionally difficult decision for most people to give up their Indian passport, often for easier international travel or to pay lower taxes or benefit from the social security services in countries where they live. For both taxation and national pride, it would help India to let Indians have dual citizenship.

Addressing intricacies

Narendra Modi and Donald Trump recently addressed thousands of Indian Americans in Houston, Texas. Some in the crowd must have had Indian passports and some must have had American passports. For neither Modi nor Trump, there seemed to be any conflict of interest. For both leaders, the crowd could have dual allegiance, to both India and the United States, at the same time.

No wonder a recent survey has shown that Indian Americans are in favour of dual citizenship. However, Vijay Chauthaiwale, head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s foreign cell, has ruled out the possibility of India granting dual citizenship. “There are a lot of intricacies involved (in dual citizenship). So, I don’t see that happening in the near future,” he has reportedly said.

Many countries have found a way around the technical issues involved. Bangladesh requires its citizens to obtain a “dual nationality certificate” so that it can control who gets to take dual citizenship and under what circumstances. Brazilians can acquire another country’s passport but they must enter and exit Brazil only on the Brazilian passport. Canada actually encourages dual citizenship; the US discourages but allows it. If the concern is security, one can look at Pakistan, which allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship of only 16 other countries, doesn’t let dual citizens run for public office or join the military. Signing dual citizenship agreements with other countries helps prevent its misuse.

Blood ties

There are no ‘intricacies’ that can’t be addressed. The main issue, however, is nationalism. Allowing dual citizenship in India seems unthinkable because it would hurt national pride. Our nationalism is monogamous, it demands exclusive love. But the world is increasingly polygamous. One can love two countries, or maybe three — some countries even allow multiple nationalities.

The countries that allow dual citizenship belong to both the developed and the developing world. They do so because they realise it is the wise choice in a globalised world of easy travel. Narendra Modi often tells ‘Overseas Citizens of India’ that blood ties matter more than the colour of the passport.

Exactly. So why not let people have different passports of different colours. If Akshay Kumar can be a Canadian citizen and an icon of hard Indian nationalism, if Abhijit Banerjee can be a US citizen and still make India proud, it is time for India to accept dual nationality.

It might just also make us go easy on our jingoism.

Source: It’s time for India to adopt dual citizenship

Andrew Coyne: You can’t be leader of one country and pledge allegiance to another

Apart from the hypocrisy (which many politicians are guilty), it is the sheer obliviousness.

It is not like the situation in Australia, where a number of politicians found out inadvertently there were considered dual citizens. Andrew Scheer filed annual US tax returns as required by US law.

On the second part of Coyne’s commentary, his questioning the concept of dual citizenship is more theoretical than practical. One can make his arguments but one has to be aware of the practical implications, not to mention the political impracticalities.

For some immigrant groups, travel back to their country of origin to visit family or for business can only be done on the country of origin, Iran being an example. So ending dual citizenship would have a real impact on those who immigrated from such countries.

While largely not an issue for MPs and Ministers, I agree with Coyne’s arguments that leaders should not be dual citizenship for symbolic and practical reasons.

In Andrew Scheer’s case, would the public be comfortable with a dual American-Canadian negotiating NAFTA or other bilateral agreements? Even if only from a perception perspective?

If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, virtue must be feeling awfully flattered of late.

Hardly had we digested the news that Justin Trudeau, for all his attempts to tar opponents as racially insensitive troglodytes — certainly next to his own exquisitely sensitive self — had made something of a hobby of dressing up as a black or brown person, when we learned that Andrew Scheer, though he and his party had been quick to criticize other party leaders for being dual citizens, was guilty of the same offence himself.

Well, no, the two situations are not quite the same, are they? For while everyone agrees that wearing blackface is deeply wrong, everyone seems equally agreed that there’s nothing wrong with someone being a citizen of two countries — not even a prime minister. “Over a million Canadians hold dual citizenships,” a Liberal spokesperson began in response. “It’s part of what makes Canada great.”

The problem, rather, was that Scheer had failed to make public that he was one of those over a million Canadians, had indeed been “caught hiding” his involvement in part of what makes Canada great, “even as he was ridiculing others for holding dual citizenship.” The issue, then, was not that he had done something inherently shameful — like, say, dressing in blackface — or even that he had hidden this wholly unshameful fact. The issue was that he was a hypocrite.

And so he is — a flaming one. If he has not made quite the same career out of his personal opposition to dual citizens that Trudeau has made of his opposition to racism, he and his party certainly made hay out of the dual French and Canadian citizenship of former governor general Michaelle Jean, former Liberal leader Stephane Dion, and former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. Just on a level of basic competence: how on earth did he imagine this would not come out?

So all right, he’s a hypocrite — as are those who shrugged at their cases but seem very exercised about his. But beyond the hypocrisy, what is the substance of the issue? Are we right to assume there is nothing wrong with dual citizenship, only with hypocrisy? I don’t think so — as I said then, and as I repeat now.

It’s not wrong on a personal level: none of these leaders have done anything wrong, nor have their million semi-compatriates. It’s the law that’s wrong. It is wrong that Canada values its citizenship so cheaply that it allows it to be held simultaneously with another (or indeed any number of others: the arguments for dual citizenship apply equally to treble or quadruple citizenship). And it’s more wrong that it cannot bring itself even to ask of those who seek to lead it that, at a minimum, they should renounce all other allegiances.

To be a citizen of a nation is not like being a subscriber to a magazine, something you can collect or discard at will. It implies a reciprocal relationship, not only a set of privileges (like the right to vote) but also of obligations — to obey the law, to pay your taxes, even in some cases to serve in war. Mostly, it implies membership in a community — the obligations it entails are not what we owe the state, but what we owe each other.

We agree, as citizens, to throw in our lot with each other, to make sacrifices for each other, to put each other first. It is not possible to maintain an equal obligation to another national community — to put both “first” is a contradiction in terms. Elsewhere this is well understood. In countries as diverse as Denmark and Japan, the condition of acquiring a second citizenship is that you give up your first.

Dual citizenship should not be mistaken for pluralism, or openness. It is to Canada’s great credit and advantage that we welcome so many to join us, from all over the world, as it is that we do not expect them to conform to some rigid official identity. We should do everything we can to make it possible for newcomers to acquire Canadian citizenship. All we should ask in return is that it be their only one.

Or if that seems too much, can we at least ask that of those who would lead us? For as much as dual citizenship raises questions about what it means to be a citizen, it does so even more at the level of leadership — at least, if leadership means anything more than mere administration. In any political community, especially in a crisis, a leader must be able to rally the people to his side, to inspire them to make difficult choices, take necessary risks, sometimes to make painful sacrifices.

If they are to do that, if they are to follow where he leads, they must believe he is loyal to them, and to them only. They are unlikely to be willing to make the sacrifices he demands of them if he cannot himself make so elemental a sacrifice as to cast his lot with them — if not irrevocably, then at least exclusively. The notion that a prime minister, in particular, might make laws for one country while being subject to the laws of another — to the point, in Scheer’s case, of being eligible for the draft — is frankly bizarre.

Membership in a community should have meaning. The parties know this: you cannot be a member of one political party if you are a member of another. Why do they treat Canadian citizenship less seriously? Why do we?

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