28 Apr 2014

Vanuatu opposition critical of passport policy

4:30 am on 28 April 2014

Vanuatu's opposition says it warned the government weeks ago that China doesn't recognise dual citizenship, but it went ahead and launched a visa fast-track system anyway.

The Chinese embassy in Port Vila has asked the government to provide the names and passport numbers of Chinese people once they have been granted Vanuatu citizenship, because they will automatically lose their Chinese citizenship.

The request comes just weeks after Vanuatu introduced a Capital Investment Immigration Programme, based in Hong Kong, aimed to collect millions for the government by selling fast-tracked citizenship to Chinese nationals.

But the opposition says the request indicates Beijing's dissatisfaction with Vanuatu's money-making initiatives such as this programme and Vanuatu's diplomatic mission in China issuing visas to people with no intention to travel to Vanuatu.

It says these people use the visas to take money out of China to invest and launder in Hong Kong and Macau.