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Strict new criteria for dual citizenship

Sunday, 27 February 2011 - 11:37 AM SL Time

Foreign nationals now holding dual citizenship in Sri Lanka are to have their status reviewed. For this purpose they will be required to face an interview where their eligibility under new criteria will be examined.

These are some of the new aspects now under consideration, Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera told the Sunday Times. He said the new procedures for granting dual citizenship would be discussed by him and his officials with President Mahinda Rajapaksa shortly.

On February 15, the government announced that it would suspend the dual citizenship scheme. More than 3,500 people of Sri Lankan origin who hold citizenship in foreign countries have enjoyed the dual citizenship status so far. The cases of a further 750 applicants, who want to obtain dual citizenship as Sri Lankans, are still pending.

The dual citizenship scheme is not serving its purpose. It was introduced with a different intention. We are now concerned over who is obtaining dual citizenship, Controller Perera said.

Other sources in the Department of Immigration said that the existing dual citizenship scheme had not benefited the country. In some instances, people holding dual citizenship as Sri Lankans had returned to Sri Lanka only to buy properties and avoid paying higher taxes. Foreign nationals are required to pay tax to the value of the property they acquire. It has also come to light that several persons who had left Sri Lanka years ago and sought asylum in foreign countries had become dual Sri Lankan citizens.

The new criteria will ensure those seeking dual Sri Lankan citizenship make a contribution to the country`s economy, another senior official of the Department said.

At present, a person seeking dual citizenship in Sri Lanka is required to hold a university degree or at least a two-year diploma. They are required to have a deposit of Rs 2.5 million for over a year in a bank account in Sri Lanka. In the alternative, they are required to adduce proof of wealth including land in Sri Lanka valued at Rs 2.5 million. Holders of Non Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC) accounts with US $ 25,000 also qualify. Another category who are granted dual Sri Lankan citizenship are persons of stature, like for example, the late Arthur C. Clarke.

The main applicant, according to the scheme now suspended, is required to pay Rs 200,000. The spouse and children under 18 years are required to pay Rs 50,000 each.

Source(s)
http://www.sundaytimes.lk/110227/News/nws_01.html

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impartial
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 05:41:00 GMT  Report for Abuse  
He he i think this is good .. if it does not serve the purpose and if one get dual citizen ship to enjoy benefits yes it should be banned .. wonder who will have the biggest blow now .. wink wink lolz
Bonggo
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 05:47:47 GMT  Report for Abuse  
This is a good move, especially the requirement of having a bank balance in Sri Lanka.
Robins
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 07:10:25 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Some key positions of this government have been filled by dual citizens. Gotabaya Rajapaksa - the powerful Defence Secretary is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and the USA. Basil Rajapaksa - Investment Development Minister has a US Green Card in addition to his Sri Lankan citizenship. Sarath Fonseka, the now incarcerated former army commander is also a Green Card holder. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka s Permanent Representative to the United Nations also holds his Australian citizenship in addition to his Sri Lankan citizenship.
The government directive stopping dual citizenship is not retrospective - hence it would not affect the citizenship status of those who have already obtained dual citizenship. But it effectively deprives thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of expatriate Sri Lankans of their Sri Lankan citizenship.
And, there are other explanations, as advanced by diaspora Tamils on the discontinuance of the applications for dual citizenship.
A reader commented on a popular website - Transcurrents
The news coming out of Sri Lanka says that the Sri Lankan government has stopped considering applications for dual citizenship. Will it retroactively cancel the dual citizenship in which event Palitha Kohona will be only a Sri Lankan citizen and then he will be beyond the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court. Sri Lanka has not recognized the ICC.
What a smart ostrich style move to protect its own. Expatriate Sri Lankans obtain citizenship of their host countries for practical reasons. With the citizenship of the host country, come other opportunities which are exclusive to the citizens such as educational opportunities, better career prospects, security clearance and voting rights, etc.
Yet, many have opted to keep their Sri Lankan citizenship, more so for their emotional attachment with their motherland. Now that the process for dual citizenship is put on hold, Sri Lankans who obtain foreign citizenship would naturally be forced to renounce their Sri Lankan citizenship.
The Controller of Immigration and Emigration, W.A.C. Perera, stresses that the discontinuance is temporary. He said that the system (of granting dual citizenship) is in need of improvement and hence, the accepting of applications is temporary. But he does not know when the new system will come into effect, nor could he say what the proposed procedural requirements would be like.
I have to make a presentation (on the new system) to the His Excellency the President. Only if he approves the proposals that I can speak to the media, Perera told Lakbimanews when asked to comment on the new system. He denied that the decision is politically motivated. There is no intention of denying citizenship to anyone, he added.
Until the recent government directive, dual citizenship was granted under five main categories: 1.Professional category 2.Wealth category 3.Fixed Deposit category 4.Senior Citizen category 5.The category of Non-Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC), Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) or Special Foreign Investment Deposit Accounts. (See: Box story)
Perera says existing categories could be amended but he declines to elaborate, saying proposals have to be first approved by the President before they are made public. Expatriate Sri Lankans who would be affected by the government s directive are perturbed by the arbitrary nature of the decision. The recent decision is arbitrary and an absolute insult to the intelligence of expatriates who came through to help the government during every crisis experienced in the country, says Anjalika Silva, an expatriate Sri Lankan and a naturalized US citizen. Not only will this decision anger the expatriate community, it will also result in loss of cooperation from expats when called upon to help their homeland which happens frequently at every turn including financing wasteful projects, she adds.

Moolah for cash strapped economy
Two years back, this government launched a much hyped residential visa programme to woo retired foreign citizens to the island. The programme which aimed to make Sri Lanka a dream home for foreign senior citizens, was expected to bring foreign remittance to the cash strapped local economy.
According to the programme, each visa applicant was required to deposit US$15,000 in a Fixed Deposit account with a local bank and make a monthly remittance of US$1500 for the principle applicant and US$750 for each dependent for their upkeep. The programme which was launched at the height of the war fell short of its expectations due to obvious reasons.
Yet, Sri Lankan workers abroad remitted money to the national coffers to the tune of US$3 billion.
Also, time and again, the government has wooed expatriate Sri Lankans to invest and share their expertise for the development of the motherland. Recently, the President called upon the expats to counter anti-government propaganda propagated by the LTTE front organizations in the West.
There are one million expatriate Sri Lankans, of which 100,000 are professionals. That is in addition to nearly a million strong Tamil diapora
In addition, every year, approximately 7,000 Sri Lankan students go abroad for higher education and many of them opt to stay in greener pastures after obtaining their degrees.
Students decide to stay in the West due to better prospects, but that does not mean they have forgotten their motherland, says, Anuradha Kohona, a Sri Lankan student at the Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.
But this suspension (of the acceptance of dual citizenship applications) would sever that relationship, he warns. We hold on to our Sri Lankan identity, very dearly, he says.
Kohona, who is awaiting his Australian citizenship, however adds that if he cannot retain his Sri Lankan citizenship, he would have to be content with the Australian citizenship. After all, with an Australian passport it is easier to travel, he quips.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP AXED

The government last week discontinued the acceptance of dual Citizenship applications. Also, the processing of the applications which have already been approved and due for payment were discontinued. The Department of Immigration and Emigration which announced the government's directive on its official website described that the discontinuation was 'temporary.'
Yet, that the government's announcement, which is arbitrary, if not callous, has put on hold the citizenship claims by many expatriate Sri Lankans.
The latest government directive means that Sri Lankan nationals who obtain citizenship in a foreign country would be deprived of the means to continue with their Sri Lankan citizenship, which hitherto was allowed through the provision of the dual citizenship.
Under usual circumstances, a Sri Lankan citizen who obtains citizenship of a second country is considered as having renounced his or her Sri Lankan citizenship.
That's where the provision of the dual citizenship comes in. Accordingly, an individual could retain his Sri Lankan citizenship when he is acquiring citizenship in a foreign country, or could resume citizenship at a latter stage after losing it when obtaining citizenship in a foreign country.
Under the previous regulations, an individual was required to pay a fee of Rs.200,000 for the principle applicant and Rs.50,000 each, for the spouse and children under 18 years of age in order to obtain dual citizenship.
Many expatriate Sri Lankans have used this facility to retain their Sri Lankan citizenship.

Who can apply for Dual Citizenship in Sri Lanka?

1. An ex-Sri Lankan holding citizenship in a foreign country
2. A Sri Lankan qualified to receive citizenship in a foreign country and who may contribute to the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka can apply for dual citizenship.
Countries where Sri Lankan Dual Citizenship is accepted are -
Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, United States of America, Canada.

Can the family members of the main applicant apply too?

Yes. The main applicant s spouse and unmarried children below 18 years of age may also apply for Sri Lankan Dual Citizenship with the main applicant. Additional fee per member will be charged.
Additional Compulsory Documents Required under Each Category

Professional Category

To be considered for the Professional Category the Applicant must possess a Degree or Post Graduate Qualifications from a recognized institute.

Wealth Category

To be considered for the Wealth Category the Applicant must possess an immovable property or properties in Sri Lanka valued at not less than LKR 2.5 million

Fixed Deposit Category

To be considered for this category the Applicant must maintain a Fixed Deposit of not less than LKR 2.5 million for a minimum period of one year.

Senior Citizen Category

To be considered under this category the Applicant must be over 55 years of age at the time of application.

NRFC / RFC / SFIDA Category

If the applicant is willing to invest in a Non-Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC), Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) or Special Foreign Investment Deposit Account (SFIDA), he/she can apply for dual citizenship.

Minimum Deposit Requirement / Retention Period
US$25,000 or equivalent in any other designated foreign currency / 03 years
US$25,000 or equivalent in any other designated foreign currency / 05 years
US$50,000 or equivalent in any other designated foreign currency / 03 years

Source: Department of
Immigration and Emigration
DVLADV
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 07:21:47 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Why go through all this hussle. Cancel tax agreement with foreign governments and issue duel citizenship with just one condition, irrespective of where it is earned revenue is taxed according to SL rate.
You can see how many patriots will want to hold SL citizenship.
impartial
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 08:04:39 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Some key positions of this government have been filled by dual citizens. Gotabaya Rajapaksa - the powerful Defence Secretary is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and the USA. Basil Rajapaksa - Investment Development Minister has a US Green Card in addition to his Sri Lankan citizenship. Sarath Fonseka, the now incarcerated former army

Robins what you trying to say man? this is to stop up coming duel just to sake of gov benefits :) anyway Green card has nthing to do with citizen ship it is just a PR lolz
ThinKing
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 12:42:30 GMT  Report for Abuse  
More than 3,500 people of Sri Lankan origin who hold citizenship in foreign countries have enjoyed the dual citizenship status so far. The cases of a further 750 applicants, who want to obtain dual citizenship as Sri Lankans, are still pending.

WTF?? so this whole big drama is about less than 5000 people?? I really dont see the point of this!
elephanthouse
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 15:41:22 GMT  Report for Abuse  
SUNDAY OBSERVER

Dual citizenship not stopped- Immigration Controller



by Manjula FERNANDO

Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said that there was no truth in the rumour that the Government has stopped issuing dual citizenship for Sri Lankan expatriates.

He said there was a temporary suspension in effect at present to update the system.

We have completed formulating the updated version. It will be presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa shortly , the Controller said adding that they were awaiting official approval.

Expatriates who are already holding dual citizenship will not be affected by the temporary suspension, the Controller said.

Following the defeat of the LTTE and the end of terrorism there was a sharp increase in the number of applications for dual citizenship.

The Department receives an average of 350 applications per month. However, in December, the Department received as many as 500 applications for dual citizenship.

The Immigration and Emigration Department is under the purview of the Defence Ministry and hence President Rajapaksa, the Defence Minister has to approve the new processing mechanism to award dual citizenship.

We are the authority to issue dual citizenship certificates and there is definitely no move by the Government to deprive Sri Lankan expatriates of obtaining dual citizenship here, the Controller said.

At present only around 4,000 Sri Lankan expatriates hold dual citizenship, a spokesman for the Immigration Department said.

Following amendments to the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948, Sri Lanka began issuing dual citizenship to Sri Lankan expatriates in 1987. Any Sri Lankan who obtains citizenship of another country will loose his or her Sri Lankan citizenship by law.

An applicant should pay an equivalent of Rs. 200,000, spouse Rs. 50,000 and children below 18 years Rs. 50,000 each to the State to obtain dual citizenship status of Sri Lanka, the Controller said.

truthrevealer
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LK Information  27 Feb 2011 17:54:09 GMT  Report for Abuse  
GoSL genocide revelaed! Sky news exclusive! http://bit.ly/eQjlzm

Protest now! Libya, egypt, baharain, who is next!!
ajan
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LK Information  28 Feb 2011 17:11:56 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Palitha Kovana made his decision regarding this ( he is one of the Dual Citizenship Holder)

Kohona, who is awaiting his Australian citizenship, however adds that if he cannot retain his Sri Lankan citizenship, he would have to be content with the Australian citizenship. After all, with an Australian passport it is easier to travel, he quips.


if the accused warcriminal have not much love for the srilankan citizenship , i doubt any ordernary person would have any love.

again they accuse that people who obtain Dual Citizenship buy land and properties ( invest) and avoid paying tax.
i thought they want people to invest ( they want people who invest to pay Rajapaksha what they invest 100% tax)

it is nothing but sinhala nazys after tamils money , it may be some tamils may have invested some of their money into their motherland. it is like if you going to invest say 50,000 dollars in srilanka your money will be halfed by rajapaksha.

and sure they will introduce 100% tax on sale,

so lets assume A man Called Palitha Kovanam a srilankan Citizen dual citizen going to srilanka to invest $100,000 dollars by investing in a property,
Rajapaksha wants Mr Kovanams to pay $50,000 as tax so his money will be halfed.
then next month he decides this is not a place for him , when he sells Rajapaksha wants 50% tax. leaving 25,000 dollars. after having accounts,lawyers and paying other commisions. Palitha will be left with just Kovanam.
Nalin99
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LK Information  10 Nov 2011 11:56:45 GMT  Report for Abuse  
I am an expact from living in Melboune and running a sucessful national ICT company in Australia. I have been trying so hard to obtain dual citizenship to set up a business in SL just to give something back to my motherland and also it gives me a reason to constantly visit...however now I have changed my mind and will wait till there is a change of government that is more democratic than this one...I will also like to know if there is any democratic political party in SL that is actively protesting publicaly against the government truning it back against its own sons...I will more than happy to contribute a genorusly finacially to your..our cause..Nalin D
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