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Immigration Dept Offers 30 Dual Citizenship Certificates

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services says it has so far offered 30 dual citizenship certificates to Malawians in diaspora since start of the exercise in January this year.

In December, 2018, the Malawi National Assembly passed the Malawi Citizenship Amendment Bill to amend the 1966 Citizenship Act, allowing persons of full age and capacity to hold citizenship of another country in addition to their Malawi citizenship. The dual citizenship bill was assented into law in March 2019 and with the regulations gazetted in November 2021.

The department rolled out dual citizenship application exercise in January this year with a number of Malawians in diaspora showing interest.

The immigration department's public relations officer, Wellington Chiponde, has however, cited lack of knowledge on the dual citizenship law among seekers on the requirements and eligibility for the certificates saying the law is prohibiting some quarters of Malawians.

He says his department is overwhelmed with applications that are awaiting approval.

"It seems there are some members of the society who are not fully aware of the regulations in the citizenship act, we are however, trying our best to reach out to such people with information," noted Chiponde.

"As you know that the law is only giving opportunities to those who are Malawians by birth and descent, which some people haven't understood thus far," he added.

Center for Social Accountability and Transparency (CSAT) Executive Director, Willy Kambwandira has called for transparency and a strict vetting process of the citizenship seekers to avoid criminals taking advantage of the system.

"This is a good development for Malawians but we need to be careful with who were giving the certificates to. I suggest the department of immigration should have a deeper vetting process on the citizenship seekers as others might have committed crimes out there," said Kambwandira.

The dual citizenship certificates give malawians who are currently staying in diaspora to have Malawian citizenship status.

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