Dual citizenship change possible

Parliamentary Committee politicians conclude in favor of changing Norway’s policy, but the issue remains

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

A majority of MPs on the Standing Local Government and Public Administration Committee have asked the government to examine how single citizenship is pertinent to increasing globalization. Last week’s move by the committee follows January’s dual nationality hearing in parliament.

Norway is the only Nordic country that does not permit dual citizenship in most cases. Just six of 46 European states have rules similar to Norway’s.

Politicians ask the government to mull issues relating to working possibilities, crime and security, and “if any changes to the Nationality Act are required due to this.”

“The government is also asked to consider whether changes in other laws can remedy the situation of those who currently experience problems due to the principle of single citizenship, rather than changing national law,” states the Standing Committee.

“A report must also include an assessment of the impact that a possible opening for dual nationality will have regarding duties and rights in Norway,” MPs state.

Changes to citizenship legislation were last made in 2005. Most people have to give up their original nationality voluntarily (where possible) in order to gain their Norwegian one. Conversely, Norwegians must surrender their Norwegian nationality if they apply for citizenship of another country.

Dual citizenship laws regarding children have also been shown to be an issue.

“I’m pleased that parliament now believes that there is reason to examine the singularly Norwegian ban on dual citizenship,” comments the Liberal Party’s (V) Sveinung Rotevatn, one of four MPs from two parties sponsoring the bill.

Karen Andersen, MP for the Socialist Left Party (SV), calls the Standing Committee’s decision “an important step. Several in parliament are now recognizing the problem.”

“The hearing on 19th January was an eye-opener for many people, because they have built their dual nationality views on concerns unconnected with this question, such as issues of national security. These would be dealt with in other ways,” she says to The Foreigner.

At the same time, focus on the issue needs to be maintained. “The government has many ways of avoiding making a decision if they so choose. This week is just one step in the right direction,” she concludes.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the March 11, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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