Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato, says the Dual Citizenship Act will help in realising the country’s development aspirations through trade and investment; and in effect, increase positive socio-economic indicators for health, employment, education and literacy.
The Minister made these remarks during the official opening of the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority Regional office in Lae today.
This comes after much lobbying by the Minister for amendments to the Constitution regarding conditions for citizenship in April of this year.
The Papua New Guinea Constitution stipulates that a person will have worked and lived in PNG for 8 years to become a naturalised citizen. But that has changed with the passing of the act two days ago.
Amendments will be done to the Citizenship Regulations. As precaution, however, strict application processes have been devised for defrauders.
Pato views dual citizenship as an incentive for investment. He added that regionally we lead the Pacific in terms of economy size, large population and a vastly pristine landmass.
PNG is the only country in the Pacific that is connected to the growing economies of South East Asia because of the land border shared with the Republic of Indonesia.
The minister also outlined the set up of the new office as important for translating government policies in Momase, Highlands and the New Guinea Islands regions.
As the need for attaining passports grows, awareness to immigration issues as well as the new Dual Citizenship Act will be raised.