중앙데일리

Need for dual citizenship

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Mar 27,2009
The government is preparing a measure that would allow talented foreign nationals to have dual citizenship as Koreans.

At a meeting of the Presidential Council on National Competitiveness on March 26, the government announced its plan to submit a bill to the National Assembly within the first half of this year.

But the measure won’t allow all people seeking dual citizenship to have it.

The idea behind the proposal is to allow some people who are citizens of other countries who meet certain requirements to have Korean citizenship as well.

The measure certainly won’t allow Korean citizens to possess foreign citizenship at will.

As the Ministry of Justice explained, the measure is aimed at easing the strict rules retained by Korea on single citizenship.

We have already asked the government to look into allowing dual citizenship to help handle the problems thrown up by living in an aging society with a low birth rate.

Whether a person is ethnically Korean or not, it is a serious loss for our national interests if a person cannot come to Korea and work here because his citizenship does not allow it.

Many talented people in the arts, sports and science and technology have already been working outside their home countries and are currently performing on the global stage.

To let them work proudly as Koreans, we must release them from the shackles of single citizenship.

We cannot attract talent if we force those who want to work here to give up their foreign citizenship and choose only Korean nationality.

The problem is that many Koreans have a deeply rooted antipathy toward dual citizenship. They resent the fact that some people have used citizenship from other countries to escape mandatory military service in Korea.

To placate those naysayers who believe dual citizenship might be bad for the country, the government plans to allow only talented people with dual or foreign citizenship to qualify for dual citizenship in Korea.

The government can also reduce the amount of negative feelings by prohibiting those who are granted dual citizenship from using their foreign citizenship to avoid mandatory military service in Korea, for example, and gaining other benefits.

If dual citizenship is allowed and maintained in accordance with these principles, people’s negative feelings should be considerably mitigated.

It is inevitable that this country will have to grant citizenship to the millions of Koreans living abroad and the increasing number of expats and multicultural families living here.



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