Gov’t On Track With Dual Citizenship Framework: Mr Waiwori

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Mr Christopher Waiwori.

The Government had established an inter-ministerial Special Committee to work on the proposed dual citizenship for Solomon Islands under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Secretary to the Dual Citizenship Special Committee, Mr Christopher Waiwori of the Office of the Prime Minister said the Committee is now working closely with the Attorney General Chambers in formulating and finalising the necessary drafting instructions, its accompanying Constitutional Amendment Bill and the Amendment to the Citizenship Act to cater for dual citizenship.

He said the DCC Government Policy Statement contains a particular policy to review the Citizenship Act.

Mr Waiwori said currently Section 23 of the Constitution expressly provides for the avoidance of dual nationality.

Section 23 of the Constitution states that, “A person who has citizenship of another country must renounce that citizenship to remain or become a citizen of Solomon Islands. Similarly, Part IV of the Citizenship Act (Cap.57) sets out the actions that will result in a person losing their citizenship.”

The Secretary said that “the purpose of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2017 is to create a set of laws to facilitate the application and granting of dual citizenship for a limited class of persons who meets certain criteria,” he elaborated.

Mr Waiwori stressed that dual nationality is a growing world phenomenon and an increasing number of countries have amended their nationality laws to allow individuals to retain their original citizenship even when they naturalise in another country.

“All major immigration countries- United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand have allowed and promoted dual citizenship. The vast majority of the developed economies of the world have also allowed dual citizenship in recognition of the employment and economic opportunities that it provides their countries.”

“In a world of economic globalisation, instant communications, and increased personal mobility, dual citizenship facilitates efficient travelling, business, work and social opportunities for individuals and for nations.”

He said whilst there are some disadvantages of dual citizenships, such as double taxation and dual obligations, the benefits outweigh those negative implications.

Mr Waiwori said that the Dual citizenship Special Committee is expected to complete its mandated task before the next parliament sitting when it is expected to be tabled.