The Sri Lankans, who have sought asylum in other countries, have been excluded from the Sri Lankan citizenship under the new Citizenship Act, the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, Chulanada Perera told Ceylon Today. He said the Department and Emigration will soon start accepting applications for dual citizenship.
Perera said the Department is awaiting an amendment to the Citizenship Act that will come into force soon. “The Bill is with the Legal Draftsman for amendment and will soon be ready,” Perera said.
According to the amended Act, all Sri Lankan citizens, who have applied for dual citizenship will be acutely scrutinized as to their suitability and worthiness to the country. “Those who have left the country and claimed asylum in other countries cannot apply for citizenship. “There is definitely no chance for them,” he said.
Talking about the amendment to the Act he said all applicants have to fulfil certain criteria to be eligible.
He dismissed media reports that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa will meet them and have a one-on-one interview. “It is not possible, but all those who qualify according to the terms of the new amendment, will be granted dual citizenship,” he said.
He revealed that some 750 applications that have been on hold since the suspension of the dual citizenship scheme in 15 February 2011 and will be processed. The Department, although wanted to start processing the applications early as 1 January 2013 has been held back because of the delay at the Legal Draftsmen’s office. “The Cabinet has already approved the bill,” he said.
It is learnt that around 3,500 Sri Lankan citizens living abroad enjoy dual citizenship in Sri Lanka.
By Chrishanthi Christopher