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Foreign spouses of dead Sri Lankans to be given a resident visa for two years

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to give spouses of dead Sri Lanka citizens a two year resident visa in a revision to a 1948 nationalist immigration law, at the time denied citizenship to tens of thousands of humans born in the country.

The two year visa will be given only to a spouse of a dead Sri Lankan who has children below 18 years and needs a job to feed them or those who had lived continuously for 10 years, according to a proposal by interior minister S B Nawinna.

The state information office said the cabinet has approved a proposal to extend the visa periods for several categories. But a massive 500 dollar fine will be slapped on anyone who overstays.

A spouse of a living Sri Lankan citizens will be given a 5-year visa under a planned relaxation approved by the cabinet, the state information office said.

Under current procedures only a one year visa is given. To renew it a letter from the Sri Lankan spouse is required.

The cabinet had also approved the granting of a visa for up to 10 years for a foreigner who remits over 500,000 US dollars, a visa for foreign students for the full academic period.

In another relaxation, ex-Sri Lankans who are citizens of countries that do not allow dual citizenship will be given a permanent residence visa.

The 1948 law pushed by nationalists, also ended naturalization. It was passed by a lawmaking parliament inherited from Colonial rule, ending thousands of years of migration and naturalization in the island by people from many parts of the world.

Liberty advocates highlight the 1948 immigration law as an overt sign of the vicious nationalism and ethno-religions fascism that gripped the island after gaining self-determination from British rule and the defeat of basic human values, freedoms and liberty in general.

One of the first acts Adolf Hitler after gaining power in Germany was to restrict citizenship, they say.





The US, under President Donald Trump’s nationalist administration backed by the religious right, has also seen a revival in anti-immigration laws, recalling the dark days of the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924.

Sri Lanka’s 1948 law went beyond the US racialist Johnson-Reed Act, ending naturalization altogether, and was more in the line of the Asian Exclusion laws and policies followed by some Muslim majority countries after World War II, critics say.

Sri Lanka was a net importer of labour under Colonial rule as well as during the times of ancient kings.

However a combination of nationalism, expropriation, state interventionism and deficit spending made possible by a money printing central bank which also brought high inflation, saw 20 percent unemployment by the 1970s. (Colombo/Jan11/2018)


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