Indonesia’s dual citizenship plan gets backing from its diaspora

Jokowi, as the Indonesia president is known, has pushed for dual citizenship since 2015, but he was met with opposition from lawmakers who raised concern over the risk to national security. - Bloomberg

JAKARTA (Bloomberg): Indonesia’s plan to enable dual citizenship is getting traction, with groups representing the nation’s migrants saying they would be open to returning to the country.

The government hosted a meeting in early May with associations representing Indonesians based overseas and families with mixed nationalities to gather their input on the plan, according to an invitation seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the Law and Human Rights Ministry.

In that meeting, the groups said they are keen to return if they can get dual citizenship, as that would make it easier for them to get jobs, open businesses and own property.

Cahyo Rahadian Muzhar, a director general at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, confirmed the meeting and said the government is also discussing alternative ways to attract overseas Indonesians to return, including by extending an easier path for children born to parents of mixed nationalities to regain citizenship.

The meeting took place just days after Coordinating Maritime and Investment Affairs Minister Luhut Panjaitan said the government would "soon” grant dual citizenship for skilled migrants to address a digital talent gap onshore. If that happens, Indonesia would become the most populous nation in Asia to allow dual citizenship.

The country is facing an ongoing problem of brain drain.

The latest data shows the number of Indonesians who renounced their citizenship grew fivefold in four years to about 1,600 in 2021 as they sought better opportunities abroad. That presents a challenge for President Joko Widodo’s goal of bringing in more investment from companies like Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Tesla Inc that would require more skilled labor.

Jokowi, as the president is known, has pushed for dual citizenship since 2015, but he was met with opposition from lawmakers who raised concern over the risk to national security, as well as worries over tightening competition for jobs.

-- ©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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