Over 1000 naturalised citizens in Vanuatu
The National Citizenship’s Office have confirmed that there are over 1, 000 foreigners who have applied and became naturalised citizens in Vanuatu since 1980.
Although they could not provide the exact number of naturalised citizens in the country, the office confirms the number is well over 1, 000. Carol Samuel, Acting Secretary General to Citizenship Office explained that while some of those people may have died already, they unfortunately, do not have the exact number of the naturalised citizens because Civil Status does not provide them with the required information.
When Daily Post asked about a person’s choice on wanting to become a naturalised citizen, Samuel pointed out that under the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu, the Citizenship Act has certain requirements on the application for and granting of citizenship by naturalisation and few of them are; “he must be of good character, has respect for the culture and the ways of life of Vanuatu, unless prevented by physical or mental disability, is able to speak and understand sufficiently for normal conversational purposes, Bislama, English, French or a vernacular of Vanuatu and has a reasonable knowledge and understanding of the rights, privileges, responsibilities and duties of citizens, and has renounced or agreed to renounce any citizenship which he may posses”.
On the question on whether it is too long or is it enough regarding the period of 10 years of ordinarily resident in Vanuatu before being granted a naturalised citizenship, the SG to Citizenship office said the period of 10 years is rightly acceptable. She stated that it would be more significant if the period is extended, but “reducing the number of years is encouraging something else”. She added that if the period were shortened, foreigners would take advantage of that too.
She claimed that when allowing a foreigner to become a naturalised citizen, “we are in a way selling our birthright. “That person must be really prepared to live the Vanuatu way before becoming a naturalised citizen. We do not want someone who would come here and break our rules and laws”, she added.
Daily Post understands that there were several cases in the past, which a number of foreigners managed to become naturalised citizens, even though they have resided for less than 10 years in the country, and few senior officers of the Citizenship’s office and Commission had to face disciplinary measures related to that issue.