Nearly 37,000 Sri Lankans living abroad have been granted dual citizenship since 2015, Immigration and Emigration Controller General Pasan Rathnayaka said yesterday (27).
“We receive about 1,000 applications for dual citizenship every year from all over the world. Since 2015, dual citizenship has been granted to 36,995 people of Sri Lankan origin,” he said.
Rathnayaka was speaking at a ceremony granting dual citizenship to 810 people of Sri Lankan origin living abroad held at the Department of Immigration and Emigration at Suhurupa, Battaramulla, yesterday (27).
Minister of Internal, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government Vajira Abeywardena who also spoke at the event said the Government has lost over Rs. 100 billion due to fraud and corruption caused due to fraudulent use of birth certificates, national identity cards and passports.
Rs. 40 billion has been requested by the Government to issue new birth certificates, national identity cards and passports using the latest technology to overcome this situation, he added.
The government expects to grant dual citizenship to Sri Lankans living overseas so that they can contribute towards the development of the country, said the Minister.
“We have to compete with the world. We can build our economy by allowing citizens around the world to come to this country without any fear,” said Abeywardena, adding that Sri Lanka cannot become a developed country be selling mobile phones or other commodities to 21 million people.