BY CAROL-ANNE SULEGA
THE Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) commenced inquiries into the Citizenship Bill 2017 yesterday.
The objective of the Bill is to repeal and replace the Citizenship Act (Cap 57).
It defines who is a Solomon Islands citizen and sets clear and non-discriminatory criteria for regaining citizenship by Solomon Islanders by birth and for becoming citizens by naturalisation.
The Bill retains the current Citizenship Commission and removes Ministerial discretion from the citizenship process and establishes a Review Board of senior public office holders with relevant knowledge and experience to review the decisions of the Board.
The Bill allows eligible citizens to retain or regain their citizenship even if they are or become citizens of another nation.
The policy objective of the Bill is to allow Solomon Islanders by birth who have lost their citizenship to regain their citizenship and reconnect with their country of origin.
The Bill facilitates the reintegration and return of Solomon Islanders by ancestry and their children who have lost their citizenship through marriage, naturalisation or displacement due to forced labour.
The Bill also provides clear, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria and procedures for long term residents of Solomon Islands to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.