Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sri Lanka – The most difficult country in the world to acquire citizenship!

Can you believe it! If you are even born in Sri Lanka you are NOT automatically entitled to citizenship here.

What is it with our insular island mentality? You can ask any Sri Lankan who tries to even get residential rights for a foreign spouse, especially a male spouse, what a hassle and trial it is! The restrictions on employment are unjustifiable. So if you think they can ever acquire citizenship, you are sadly mistaken, as they have no hope of that even if they live here a lifetime!

For a UK or US citizen, male of female, if they have a child, born in any Country, they have automatic rights for their children to be citizens. There are British and American citizens who have never been to the Country they are citizens of, let alone born there. So why don’t we want more Sri Lankan citizens? Are we worried that we will be overwhelmed with people?

I was amused when I read in a paper that a senior politician had made a statement that 90% of A level students in Sri Lanka, have an ambition to leave Sri Lanka given the first opportunity and WE ARE WORRIED THAT we will be flooded with new Sri Lankans! We are obviously living on another planet in our fear of being overrun, or for that matter guarding our citizenship so preciously.

Those who even profess the Sinhala Buddhist mantra, do not want Buddhists to come to Sri Lanka and live, even Buddhist monks, as they are NOT Sinhala! Buddhism will only be enhanced when there is fresh thought from intellectuals to improve the way of life practiced here as years of bad practices amongst the clergy, have put people off Buddhism, and we don’t allow others to come to Sri Lanka to strengthen the belief from un-Buddhist practices.

We must NOT forget that those born in Sri Lanka and those born to Parents who were born on Sri Lanka, have a combined income overseas that exceeds Sri Lanka’s GNP by a factor of 4 even though they number no more than 4 million people, some are citizens working temporarily overseas, and most are of Sri Lankan origin who have permanently settled overseas. They together have an annual income of over US$160B. In fact they could buy up Sri Lanka if they wished.

We should give back citizenship if they want it, for no more cost than the cost of getting a passport and a small processing fee to cover all costs, to everyone born in Sri Lanka and for the children of those born in Sri Lanka. You will be surprised how much they will contribute to Sri Lanka’s growth! 

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