10 Sep 2013

PNG parliament to consider dual citizenship legislation

8:09 pm on 10 September 2013

New legislation is to enable Papua New Guineans to hold dual citizenship from next year.

The Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato says the new law will allow Papua New Guinean children living overseas and those of PNG and foreign parentage to assume dual citizenship rights when they turn 19.

Dual citizens will have most of the same rights as other citizens, but will not be permitted to vote, hold public office, own land or have free access to official documents in PNG.

The newspaper, The National, reports that the bill allowing dual citizenship had been gazetted, and is scheduled to be debated in November and passed by Parliament next February.

The government hopes the new law will also encourage successful Papua New Guineans living abroad to reforge their bonds with their home country.

Mr Pato says these people have valuable skills that could help PNG to grow and flourish - they want to come home, but don't want to completely give up the rights that they have earned elsewhere.