Dual Citizenship applications to resume
Posted on March 5th, 2012

Anjalika Silva USA

It is a relief to learn that dual citizenship applications will be resumed shortly as stated by the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera.   It has taken too long already.  In the first place the lack of thought and planning with a vision for preventing exploitation was totally lacking at the time the system was put in place under Chandrika Kumaranatunge.   The big idea to offer dual citizenship with a huge price tag when she saw the dollar signs coming with the applications was a joke.    At the end of it the dirty brown paper of the certificate was a disgrace.

I hope President Mahinda Rajapakse will give some consideration to expats who are returning with assets.   The price for the revelation that asylum seekers and refugees who left and incited violence against the country have already received dual citizenship will now be paid not by those who made use of loopholes to cheat the system but those who genuinely require this status.

The application process should not ask for unnecessary information but instead focus on information that is relevant to determine eligibility as well as to determine the value of the individual through education and qualifications acquired that is of use to Sri Lanka.  The documents asked for should not include nonexistent records considering the poor record keeping history in Sri Lanka where documents and files are destroyed at the whim of short sighted staff.

 A special category for retired persons should be created with a lesser fee.  Contrary to beliefs based on exceptions, most average Sri Lankans who lived abroad and of retirement age now did not have the earning capacity enjoyed by later generations.   In later generations those who had access to liberal exchange to obtain foreign education in developed countries enjoyed a higher earning potential.  The retirees who lived abroad and survived with only Sri Lankan qualifications (the current baby boomers of the 1940s) mostly took on average jobs with modest earnings which leave them with average pensions.   Considering the cost of living in Sri Lanka, today even a US$ pension does not go very far. 

We sincerely hope that the new regulations are not only about revenue for the country but also about the value of individuals.  Expatriates have contributed extensively towards financial and other needs of Sri Lanka over the years.  Such service is never recognized — not even with a smile from the first line of officers of the Immigration service on arrival in Colombo.

Expat bashing has become the norm by “sour grapes” that wish they could live abroad and be naturalized in other countries had the opportunity been available.  It is not all about the glamour of earnings.  Life overseas is hard work and those who wish to return to their home land have worked hard for what they have and the government should not look to them as sources of income or plunder their pension income through regulations that require large payments when they want to return home.  Those who gave up citizenship had to do so for many reasons.  One being the harassment and humiliation at transit ports during travel owing to the ugly things that happened with refugees and asylum seekers who became a nuisance to countries and continue even today with criminal activity.    Careers were at stake if one retained Sri Lankan citizenship while competing with citizens of other countries or their adopted land.  Whether in Sri Lanka or in an adopted land, each one is entitled to securing their future.  It should not be frowned upon or be used in ugly abusive remarks that some choose to hurl at people who still value their Sri Lankan roots and wish to come home. 

Expatriates are still Sri Lankans who have kept their traditions alive even while living abroad and genuinely cared for the country through the darkest days.  If they want to return, it is a sign of being patriotic.  Some are even more patriotic than those living within the country.  They should be treated with respect and dignity and commended for thinking of their home country after long years away. Expats return only if they want to and not everyone does as there are some who have completely severed ties and don’t consider Sri Lanka their home anymore.   

There’s no place like home where the soil is where our feet touch the ground of the land of our birth and our families have warmth and love for each other.  All we now need to do is to guard our peace and live as good and honest people.

 

 

11 Responses to “Dual Citizenship applications to resume”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    If all the refugees land in SL calling it homeland, then there is a problem. Only patriotic SLs should be allowed in. A strict screening process should be undertaken. SL is not an “ambalam” for all losers to land. Take ONLY those who are worthful and not the crap.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo, Anjalika!

    As always you write the truth from the patriotic heart that beats within you.

    I remember reading a previous post at LankaWeb from you recommending a list of criteria for dual citizenship that can be used to weed out unpatritic people who wish to exploit and undermine Sri Lanka from those patriots who have made significant contributions to Sri Lanka’s survival both at home and abroad.

    That was a very useful contribution that the GOSL should consider seriously.

    It would be a great service if you could republish that post at this time. Hopefully, the GOSL will act upon it.

    Best

  3. jay-ran Says:

    I fully aggree with you LORENZO.
    Sri lankan authoritie should CAREFULLY EXAMINE THE APPLICATIONS AND SCRUTINIZE WETHER THESE APPLICATIONS R FROM GENUINE SRI LANKANS AND NOT LTTE SUPPORTERS!!!

  4. Marco Says:

    “Those who gave up citizenship had to do so for many reasons.”

    I can think of only two reasons. Economic or Political/asylum.
    Even so why would you get rid of your Sri Lankan citizenship if you loved the Country so much by obtaining a “Western” citizenship. The argument that Careers were at stake is absolute nonsense.

    In fact one could take advantage of tax concessions. I worked for a Multi- National in EMEA countries whilst being a UK permanent resident but non-dom (with a SL passport) and did not pay any taxes for approx 6 years. Visas were obtained easily (Courier Companies engaged to stand in Q’s) at 6 monthly intervals in all but few EMEA countries.
    Only in 2006 when i semi retired and decided to invest and live in SL during the Winter months did i decide to apply for British Citizenship and retained Dual Citizenship. I’m not ashamed to say it was purely for economic and political reasons. If the “shit hits the fan” you can make a quick getaway.

    If the writer complains about the regulations in obtaining Dual, and if she loves the country that much why not renounce her US citizenship and take up SL citizenship only. Oath of Allegiance as one commentator often refers to.

    Expat bashing has never been the norm. It’s quite the reverse. Many upper middle class professional families in Sri Lanka enjoy a much better life style than their counterparts in Western Countries. Two or three holidays a year which may include Sking in Switzerland, Safaris in Africa, Long weekend retreats in Maldive resorts and weekend shopping jaunts to Singapore together with the usual Lankan comforts of having 2 or 3 servants. They did not have to leave Sri Lanka for education/career improvements etc. They did it whilst remaining in SL and taking all opportunities and bettering themselves. You call that sour grapes?

    Dual Citizenship is an absolute necessity for Expats to be encouraged to invest in SL.
    The Dual Citizenship process was frozen following a typical knee jerk reaction to the Oxford University debacle. ( a temporary reprieve of 800 granted recently on a case by case basis)

    MR is well aware that the Tamil Diaspora have more financial fire power than the Sinhala Diaspora. Money talks in GOSL.

  5. lingamAndy Says:

    Marco
    economic and political reasons. If the “shit hits the fan” you can make a quick getaway- Well said , realistic talk!

    MR is well aware that the Tamil Diaspora have more financial fire power than the Sinhala Diaspora. Money talks in GOSL.- Well said again !

    If MR Implement 13A& LLCR than He can increase his budget 100% over night !
    Also Jaldevi ( & A9 ) should extented from Colombo fort to Hambadoda !

  6. Siri Says:

    I wonder if Mr. Marco Polo in his voyage of discovery ever applied for US Citizenship? He will find that if you opted for US Citizenship, your Sri Lankan Citizenship is automatically removed from all documentation. The US does not recognize Sri lankan dual citizenship. You take an oath to uphold the US Constitution and bear arms for the US if called to do so. I had to surrender my Sri Lankan driving licence in exchange for a US (NY) driving licence. I had to only do a written test and not a driving test (road test) to receive the NY driving licence. I do not have a Sri Lankan driving licence now and use taxis when I visit to get about.
    I came to the US legally and received our Green Cards at the point of entry to the US. We had our Passports stamped employment authorized. I worked for seventeen years in Sri Lanka and paid my debt to the Sr Lankan Tax payers for the Free Education I received. I own property and a house in Sri Lanka for which I have continued to send money every year for taxes, maintenance and Security or caretaker salaries. I have visited Sri Lanka every year for two weeks as this was all the vacation leave I had. Now as I am retired, after 30 years of working for an American company I wish to spend more time in my Native country. I found that I have to pay $ 100.00 for a visa to stay over 30 days in the country. I do not believe that I will ever permanently want to reside in Sri Lanka as I own a house in the US too and my children and their spouses are US citizens who are gainfully employed here.
    At my age (over 72 yrs) I only have a few more years of life left, get a regular income from the US for my expenses and will not be a burden to the Sri Lankan Tax payer.
    I believe that it is only fair to have a reduced rate of citizenship fees for older retirees who wish to spend a few months in the Island of their birth and do not plan to join the labor force. This will also encourage them to bank more of their assets in Sri Lanka.

  7. Marco Says:

    Dear Siri,
    You made a choice many years ago and i assume it was an informed choice. You chose US and regrettably the “Oath of Allegiance” does not work in the US.
    I believe a $100 fee for a 30day + visa is a small change for a person of your standing. You have admitted the fact that you have no wish to permanently settle in Sri Lanka as your family roots are firmly settled in US.

    As regards to burden the Sri Lankan tax payer, think one does not have to worry about that, we do have a Guinness Book of Record number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have taken on that task!

    It’s commendable that you think you have paid your dues by paying taxes for 17years whilst working in Sri Lanka.
    All Sri Lankan citizens were entitled to the benefits of free education and health irrespective of if they were paying taxes or not.

    Do i have the right to seek a tax/benefit rebate because my parents were fortunate enough to pay the taxes but still pay for my private education and private health in Sri Lanka? NO!
    And so it should be.

    Finally in my “voyage of discovery” i realised the burden of choice remains with the individual and ones conscious.

  8. Rohan8 Says:

    @Marco, yeah if the Shit hits the fan in the UK, which in the current unstable global environment is very possible. I definitely want to make an absolutely quick getaway to Sri Lanka. LOL!

  9. lingamAndy Says:

    Rohan8
    I definitely want to make an absolutely quick getaway to Sri Lanka. -Correct desision that what Marco said choice remains with the individual !

  10. Christie Says:

    Indian colonial parasites who went to the West managed to get dual citizenship under CBK program. Around $2000 is peanuts when you look at what they earned. Some of our reps made a fortune out of handing out dual to these terrorist and getting them pensions for their former employment in the island.

    The dual should not be given free. A reasonable fee should be charged. It should not be given to those who have claimed refugee status in their adopted lands.

    The expat beggars from the west wants to come back home for a free meal with a patriotic hood. Shame.

  11. Burgherboy Says:

    Great insight and a bunch of valid and not so valid ( in my opinion of course ) comments. The bottom line is, HOME is where your HEART is and no matter why one left SL, those Sri Lankans who want to come back, just want to return HOME! Trust me, not evryone wants to come back, it is only those who truly consider SL their home would want to do so. I do understand and appreciate that due dilligence such as back ground checks to determine character/financial stability need to be done to weed out undesirables ( I would imagine terrorists/criminals and paupers will not qualify) but aside from that, a SriLankan is a Srilankan is a Srilankan no matter what other citizenship he/she may have acquired and should be able to enjoy the privilege of dual citizenship. I for one would like to retire in SL , help the underprivileged, share my experiences/expertise, coach,mentor and equip the younger generation with much needed life skills!
    No…. I’m not looking for a free meal, on the contrary the good Lord has blessed me such that I am in a position to provide “free meals” for many others and I would much rather do so in Sri Lanka than say…. Ecuador, Panama, New Zealand, Belize or Costa Rica to name a few countries that encourage and incent retirees.
    Hopefully the new “system” will be implemented sooner than later, patience can be a rare commodity especially when time is of the essence and decisions have to be made.
    May God bless Sri Lanka!
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