PAPUA New Guinea’s foreign affairs and immigration minister Rimbink Pato has announced administrative arrangements are being finalised for dual citizenship to become a reality in March.
"Dual citizenship is a new concept for PNG and creates great opportunities for our people at home and around the world,” Mr Pato said.
"Through dual citizenship our best and brightest can retain their connection with their homeland and not be hampered by bureaucracy.
"With dual citizenship we are better able to attract skilled workers who will be able to stay and build a home in PNG but still be able to return with ease to their place of birth to see family.
"We know the pride that comes with our citizens being able to present a PNG passport when they travel across borders and we are pleased that more of our people will soon be able to do exactly that," he said.
Mr Pato said that after parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December a series of administrative measures needed to be implemented and these are now in place.
"Immigration officers involved with processing dual citizenship applications are undertaking training so they are familiar with the process,” he said.
"As well as creating opportunities for Papua New Guineans to reclaim citizenship, there are also checks and balances in the system to prevent misrepresentation.”
He said a number of considerations are taken into account when processing applications for dual citizenship.
"Dual citizenship is not an automatic process but one that needs an applicant to demonstrate that he or she is eligible to be considered for the grant of dual citizenship under the relevant laws,” he said.
"There are two categories of people who can seek PNG dual citizenship.
"One is PNG citizens who want to hold citizenship of a prescribed country and retain their PNG citizenship.
"The other is people who hold citizenship of a prescribed country and wish to gain d ual citizenshi p with PNG.
"The prescribed countries are Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, United Kingdom and United States of America.
"Dual citizenship is distinguishable from the single citizenship by naturalisation which is still available should one wish to renounce their foreign citizenship and retain only PNG citizenship."
Citizens of a prescri bed country seeking dual citizenship will have to pay a fee of K15,000.
Further information is available on the ICSA website at www.immigration.gov.pg.