An interaction meeting was organized by IFA on April 20, 2012 at the Institute’s meeting hall regarding the issues on dual citizenship for NRN, input for annual action plan of IFA for the current and fiscal year, and possibility of holding joint programs with AFCAN.
As far as Non Resident Nepali is concerned, they are consistently pushing for the retention of their Nepalese citizenship after receiving the citizenship at the foreign countries. Their main arguments are that the continuation of their Nepali status will motivate for further investment back in Nepal along with deepening attachment due to frequent travels between the two countries with increasing bonds of relations as a result of same language and culture and also the property rights will, they feel, instill a kind of confidence back to their origin.
During the discussions the following issues emerged in regards to dual citizenship to the Nepalese NRNs:
- There is no dual citizenship in India and the non-resident Indians are being provided all the necessary facilities by the government for their bid to invest in India. Meantime, there are many other countries that provide their non resident citizens the right of retention of the citizenship of their countries of origin with many facilities to augment their investment in their countries of origin.
- Amending provision to retain the Nepalese Citizen may not enhance the level of investment forthcoming from the NRN as most of them are working as fixed salaried positions or daily wage earners. NRN’s main motive behind the demand seems to facilitate them not to have visa each time they come to Nepal and to legalize their properties’ rights after acquiring citizenship of foreign countries where they reside.
- The current provision of the NRN Act will facilitate them with long term visa up to ten years. For the protection of parental property, provisions of the Act could be amended to protect their property rights.
- Nepal should have detailed status report of the overseas Nepalese through the collection of information using our missions abroad plus NRN Associations. After having their detail status report, Nepal could decide about the retention of their citizenship rights.
- Nepal should not take hasty decisions regarding these nationally vital and important decisions. No action should be taken considering the political considerations as it will have long term impact to the nation.
- Our government should ask our ambassadors in the missions abroad that they furnish all details of what the receiving country is providing to their non resident citizens facilities and other privileges and exemptions in areas of investment and property rights.
- Paradox of “Chicken first or Egg first” needs to be compared whether investment first or retention of the citizenship first as NRNs talk a lot about the investment on the pipeline towards Nepal. But in actual terms it is very insignificant till to date. It also needs to be studied whether a small vocal group is asking for dual citizenship or a significant mass of them.
- Definition of NRN should be clear cut and should exclude workers working at Middle East and other countries as from the SAARC countries.
- It needs to be determined through our missions abroad how many of them and how frequent and how much NRNs sent money as remittances back in Nepal.
- The NRNs are being provided with so many privileges already. This itself is the real privileges given to them.
- It was also suggested that the NRFNs could retain the Nepalese citizenship holding foreign passport and they could open account in the banks in Nepal in convertible currency. Some amendments of some clauses of the NRN Act 2064 can be done to accommodate their demand.
Executive Director floated to organize one workshop seminar among the stakeholders at the institute within two weeks. Mr. Kedar B. Shrestha suggested to hold ‘Interaction meeting’ of the stakeholders inviting NRN advisors like Mr. Kul C. Gautam, Mr. Bishwo Kant Mainali, members related with Labor, FNCCI, Land Reforms, Law Ministry and other relevant law experts and representatives of other agencies concerned.
Commenting on the action plan of the institute presented by the Executive Director, the AFCAN executive members suggested that the purpose of the institution should first be clearly defined whether it will purely concentrate on training of the Foreign service cadres or act as think tank or research institution and advise the government on policy matters.
Mr. Kedar B Shrestha asked about the capacity and ability of the institution. He further enquired about the long term goals and visions of the Institute. He suggested that we may have a workshop or meeting or seminar on “the long-term trajectory of our foreign policy in the next ten or twenty years”. He suggested borrowing visiting fellows and research fellows at institute to strengthen the works of the institute.
It has been decided to continue further joint meetings in regular intervals and the agenda of annual action and others will be taken up in next meeting.