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Singapore debates dual citizenship, citing OCI as an option

Press Trust of India  |  Singapore 

has debated the option of dual citizenship for its nationals, with some citing concepts like 'Overseas Citizenship of India' given by New to Indian diaspora as a middle path.

Diplomats and academics have raised pros and cons of allowing Singaporeans to have dual citizenship, according to a report in The Sunday Times today.


In 2013, the had responded to parliamentary questions, saying that being "a small and young nation" is concerned as it could dilute citizens' commitment to the country.

The issue of whether should one day consider dual citizenship has been raised from time to time in discussions about the future of citizenship.

Barry Desker of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, a prominent advocate of dual citizenship, argued that it would help Singaporeans living abroad and foreigners in who are married to Singaporeans.

"may be losing good people" when Singaporeans living abroad are forced to give up their citizenship, said Professor Tan Tai Yong of Yale-NUS College in the National University of

Associate Professor Eugene Tan of Management University said that dual citizenship should not have a detrimental impact in terms of people's sense of belonging to the country.

A strong opponent of dual citizenship, Professor Leo Suryadinata of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute argued that citizenship is about political loyalty and it is doubtful if a person can be loyal to two countries.

"In an age of growing nationalism and the potential break-up of the European Union, global trends appear to be moving away from dual citizenship," he observed.

Institute of Policy Studies researcher Debbie Soon said if were to one day be in conflict with another country, dual citizenship would be problematic because of the island state's conscription system.

"But discussions on dual citizenship do not have to yield a binary yes-or-no answer," argued Associate Professor Elaine Ho of the National University of

There are in-between options that may enhance the links people have to Singapore, she noted.

One is the British example of an ancestry visa, which offers foreigners who can prove ancestral links to Britain an inside track to living and working there. A similar concept is the Overseas Citizenship of

According to Prof Tan Tai Yong the honorary citizenship, which grants to a very select group of foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to the country, is also an example of an in-between option.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, October 08 2017. 12:22 IST
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