Govt’s dual citizenship plan gets backing from diaspora

THE plan to enable dual citizenship here is getting traction, with groups representing the nation’s migrants saying they would be open to returning home.

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.

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, 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. 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 tech giants which would require more skilled labour.

Joko has pushed for dual citizenship since 2015, but was met with opposition from lawmakers who raised concern over the risk to national security, as well as worries over tightening competition for jobs. — Bloomberg

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