The government will amend its citizenship and Immigration laws to establish a new scheme to grant dual citizenship to country's expatriates.
The cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal forwarded by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to amend the Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948 and the Immigration and Emigration Act No.20 of 1948 with a view to formalizing the granting of Dual Citizenship by the establishment of the "Overseas Sri Lankans" Scheme.
Acting Minister of Mass Media and Information Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena at the cabinet media briefing said yesterday under the proposal a pre- examination procedure will be initiated to satisfy that a person applying for dual citizenship in Sri Lanka has fulfilled the requirements to make him eligible for such dual citizenship.
The proposal suggests the relevant Acts to be amended to establish a new scheme called "Overseas Sri Lankans" with a view to affording facilities to persons who have terminated citizenship in Sri Lanka, and their under aged children to enter Sri Lanka and to stay in Sri Lanka.
An amendment will be made to provide the opportunity to apply for dual citizenship only to the persons who have registered under the Overseas Sri Lankans scheme and being placed under probation in the scheme for five years following the pre- examination.
The amendments will make provisions to exempt persons from the requirement of registration under the new scheme when the President is of the opinion that granting dual citizenship for persons who have terminated their citizenship in Sri Lanka will be beneficial to national interest.
At present the Department of emigration and Immigration has suspended accepting Dual Citizenship applications until the new system is developed.