[color=#0000FF][i]Mod’s note: Part one of this discussion is [url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/taiwanese-citizenship-and-renunciation/70326/1
In their reasons for rejecting my original CEPD-endorsed proposal for revision of the renunciation provisions of the Nationality Act, the MOI said that Taiwan’s law was in alignment with a number of other countries, and listed Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Germany, Austria and Italy as 14 countries that require renunciation.
If I take up this matter again (as I strongly intend to, if I can find the time to attend to it), I will need to specifically rebut all of the reasons given by the MOI for rejecting the first proposal. Hence, I have been looking at the relevant provisions of the law in the more advanced of the countries they listed. And I have found that the MOI was fundamentally wrong about the nature of the law in nearly all of them, while even in those that do require renunciation to any extent, the conditions are far more lenient and subject to far more exceptions than the corresponding provisions of the law here.
This is what I’ve found from my initial research on the listed European countries and Japan:
In Belgium, naturalization is discretionary. Discretionary naturalization is, in essence, not a right but a favour which one can be granted. Renunciation of the previous nationality is, in principle, not a condition of acquiring Belgian nationality. All adults who have been residing in Belgium for 3 years (reduced from 5 years in 2000) can apply for naturalization.
(From: European Immigration: A Sourcebook)
A foreign national who marries an Italian national and lives in Italy can apply for citizenship after 6 months of marriage. In such case, the conferral of citizenship is a right unless the person has been convicted of a crime or divorces before the naturalization proceedings are completed. In other cases, conferral of citizenship is discretionary.
Naturalisation is at the discretion of the government, which expresses its willingness to accept the foreign citizen on Italian soil. This acceptance is based on the participation of the applicant in Italian society, the applicant’s personality (lack of social danger, police record) and financial self-sufficiency.
The general requisites are:
• Ten years’ legal residence in Italy (five for those who have the status of stateless persons or refugees and four for citizens of the European Community)
• Three years of payment of state contributions
• Financial self-sufficiency
I can find no mention of any requirement to renounce other nationality.
According to the relevant official Swedish government website, to become a Swedish citizen you must:
be able to prove your identity
have reached the age of 18
have a permanent residence permit
have lived in Sweden for a specified period (3 years if married to Swedish national, 5 years for others)
have conducted yourself well in Sweden.
There is no requirement to renounce any other nationality.
Generally requires renunciation of foreign citizenship “unless impractical.” Among those exempted from this requirement are those who acquire Austrian citizenship on the basis of being appointed a professor at an Austrian university.
The provisions governing naturalization as a German citizen are set out in the Nationality Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz). Although the renunciation or loss of previous citizenship is included in the list or requirements set out in Section 10 of the Act, it is subject to many exceptions as set out in Section 12. Here is the full text of the Section 12 exceptions:
[quote] Section 12 [Naturalisation accepting multiple nationality]
(1) The condition stipulated in Section 10 (1), sentence 1, no. 4 shall be waived if the foreigner is unable to give up his or her previous citizenship, or if doing so would entail particularly difficult conditions. This is to be assumed if
- the law of the foreign state makes no provision for giving up its citizenship,
- the foreign state regularly refuses to grant release from citizenship,
- the foreign state has refused to grant release from citizenship for reasons for which the foreigner is not responsible, or attaches unreasonable conditions to release from citizenship or has failed to reach a decision within a reasonable time on the application for release from citizenship which has been submitted in due and complete form,
- the subsequent multiple nationality represents the sole obstacle to the naturalisation of older persons, the process for release from citizenship entails unreasonable difficulties and failure to grant naturalisation would constitute special hardship,
- in giving up his or her foreign citizenship the foreigner would incur substantial disadvantages beyond the loss of his or her civic rights, in particular such disadvantages of an economic or property-related nature, or
- the foreigner holds a travel document in accordance with Article 28 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 (Federal Law Gazette 1953 II, p. 559).
(2) The condition stipulated in Section 10 (1), sentence 1, no. 4 shall further be waived if the foreigner holds the citizenship of another member state of the European Union or Switzerland.
(3) Further exemptions from the condition stipulated in Section 10 (1), sentence 1, no. 4 may be granted pursuant to the provisions of agreements under international law. [/quote]
Hence, the requirement only applies to roughly half of all applications for naturalization.
In principle, Japan does not allow dual nationality for any of its citizens, and hence requires naturalizing foreigners to renounce previous citizenship (since no Japanese national is permitted to hold any other nationality).
However, in contemporary practice, the authorities do not actively request dual national Japanese to give up other nationalities, and do not impose any punishment on those who are revealed as dual nationals.
Significantly, there are moves afoot to liberalize the nationality law and formally allow dual nationality. A senior LDP politician, Taro Kono, has submitted a proposal to an LDP panel he heads calling for the Nationality Law to be revised. His proposal includes allowing foreigners to obtain Japanese citizenship without giving up their original citizenship.
Here are the details of Kono’s proposal, which passed initial deliberation in the Diet in December 2008, but was then referred to a panel of lawmakers for further consideration. I can’t find any news about its subsequent status, but since there were many more urgent matter on the ruling party’s agenda, it wasn’t expected to be formally submitted to the Diet as a bill within a near timeframe.
Kono’s multiple citizenship plan
The conditions and procedure for naturalization as a Japanese citizen are described in this excerpt from a December 2011 article in The Japan Times:
[quote] According to the Nationality Law, a foreigner seeking Japanese nationality must have permission from the justice minister. He or she can become a naturalized citizen after clearing several conditions, including being at least 20 years old, residency in Japan for at least five consecutive years, a history of “upright conduct,” and no plans to join groups interested in overthrowing the Constitution or the government.
To file for naturalization, you must submit many documents to the local legal affairs bureau detailing your relatives, your livelihood, job or business, your motive for wanting to become a Japanese citizen, your tax payments, and an oath.
The Justice Ministry says the whole process takes about six months to a year, but some naturalized Japanese have noted it took about a 18 months to get the final seal of approval.
Are most requests approved?
Yes. About 99 percent of all applications are approved. In 2010, for example, 13,072 were recognized as naturalized citizens and 234 were rejected. Of those approved, 6,600 were North or South Korean nationals and about 5,000 were Chinese.
A Justice Ministry official said having a criminal history is often regarded as bad conduct, but that applications are examined on a comprehensive basis to take into account the seriousness of the crime, when it was committed and other details.
Those who chose to become naturalized citizens include Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son, author and naturalist C.W. Nicol, originally from Wales, politician Tsurunen Marutei from Finland, and TV personality Bobby Ologun from Nigeria.
This does not make any mention of the renunciation requirement. However, in Japan, unlike Taiwan, renunciation of original citizenship is not a precondition for naturalization, but a step that the new citizen is required to take after he has been naturalized. As part of the application process, the candidate must sign the following oath:
It seems that a two-year period is allowed for the renunciation. But what happens if you don’t carry out the oath, and retain your original citizenship?
Under Japanese law,
[quote] While there are no penalties, financial or incarceration, for breaking the naturalization requirements regarding renouncing, the Japanese government can strip you of your Japanese citizenship if you “forget” to renounce your other citizenship(s). The process is called “administrative denaturalization,” and is basically done when someone commits fraud or fails to fulfill all the requirements of naturalization or voluntarily (not automatically or involuntarily) acquires another citizenship as a Japanese.
[However], administrative denaturalization has never occurred under modern Japanese nationality laws (1950 onwards). Nobody knows why, but the most common theory is that in the case of naturalization, there are not (yet) enough cases of naturalization abuse to make it a priority for enforcement. Furthermore, there are few egregious cases of dual-citizenship privilege abuse (for example, attempting to vote twice — which is by definition undemocratic — in two countries on the same issue such as an international trade or military agreement) to make the non-trivial administrative process worth it. [/quote]
So, Japan’s naturalization law is evidently far more lenient than Taiwan’s, and there’s a fair possibility that it will become substantially more so if Taro Kono’s proposed changes to the law are enacted.