23 Sep 2020

Vanuatu reviews citizenship programmes

7:23 am on 23 September 2020

The chairman of Vanuatu's Citizenship Commission says the citizenship by investment programmes are being reviewed.

Ronald Warsal released a statement following media reports about concerns over the status of Vanuatu's honorary citizens.

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Photo: 123rf

The deputy prime minister Ishmael Kalsakau told RNZ Pacific last week that the government is considering a new category of passport for people who previously purchased "honorary citizenship".

But Warsal said the commission was the only agency authorised to comment on the citizenship programme.

He said all other statements or comments regarding the programmes or citizenship programme augmentations should be treated as unofficial or personal remarks and not government policy.

According to Warsal, the government is conducting a thorough review of Vanuatu's Development Support Program and the Vanuatu Contribution Program.

"Finally, all Vanuatu Citizens who have achieved Citizenship under any of the existing or former versions of the Citizenship by Investment Program are equal in the eyes of the Vanuatu Government and are to be assured of their rights and privileges as Ni-Vanuatu, enshrined under the existing Citizenship Act Cap 112. Any omissions or ambiguities that may exist in the Citizenship Act Cap 112 which are cause for concern will be identified and rectified during an on-going review process conducted by the current government," he said.