S Korea submits bill to allow conditional multiple citizenship

14:48, December 23, 2009      

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The South Korean government approved a bill to allow multiple citizenship for those who hold foreign passports to conditionally have more than one nationality, officials said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Justice said in a press release that it will submit a proposal on revisions to parliament for approval before year's end.

The revised bill would allow those who hold foreign passports to hold multiple nationalities on condition that they vow not to exercise rights as a foreign national, including tax exemptions and admissions to international school, while in South Korea.

The envisioned law also gives Korean nationality to foreigners married to Korean spouses, people with special valued skills, and adoptees who have returned to South Korea.

However, those whose mothers are suspected of having been on the so-called "birth tour," where birth is given abroad with intentions to gain foreign nationalities for their children, are restricted from this law.

The "birth tour" has been a particularly touchy issue in the country as foreign citizenship is occasionally used as a means to avoid mandatory military service for male citizens.

"The bill would not allow those babies to have dual nationality, but the main purpose of this bill is to prevent further brain drain out of this country and attract more talented foreigners," Cha Gyu-guen, an official with the ministry's nationality and refugee division, was quoted as saying by the country's Yonhap News Agency.

Under current law, South Korea does not grant multiple citizenship to citizens or foreigners living in the country. Therefore, South Koreans who obtain foreign citizenship through birth or emigration must choose a single nationality before the age of 22.

Source: Xinhua
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