26 Jun 2006

Tonga to allow dual citizenship

3:41 pm on 26 June 2006

The Tongan government has decided to allow Tongans to have dual citizenship.

In the past, thousands of Tongans had to relinquish their Tongan passports after they became citizens of other countries.

The change will also help Tongan women who married foreigners to retain their citizenship, and for Tongans to keep their claim to traditional land.

The adviser to the Prime Minister, Lopeti Senituli, says the Prime Minister is very supportive of the move.

"And he also felt it is the government's duty to give our people the right to retain their Tonganness and also the issue of dual citizenship will enable our relatives overseas to enjoy the benefits and opportunities of their new countries as well as retaining their own nationality."

Lopeti Senituli says Tonga's Nationality Act should be amended within a few months.

He says Tongans wanting to take up dual citizenship should be able to do so from October.