A new Latvian government work group has until Dec. 10 to come up with proposals for granting dual citizenship to children born to citizens living abroad.
The work group is to meet for the first time Sept. 20, the Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration announced Sept. 19 in Rīga. The group is an outgrowth of a report submitted last month to the Cabinet of Ministers outlining measures that could be taken to encourage repatriation to Latvia, especially among the thousands of Latvian citizens who in recent years have moved to Ireland, the United Kingdom and other locations.
Granting dual citizenship to children born to Latvian parents abroad was among key points noted in the report.
“I believe that this will foster the maintenance of ties to the homeland, (as well as) stimulate even more active involvement in Latvian current affairs among those living abroad and their return to Latvia,” Oskars Kastēns, the integration minister, said in a press release. “I am convinced the work group will accomplish this task.”
Heading the work group will be Anda Ozola, an adviser to Kastēns. Also serving will be representatives from the Ministry for Children and Family Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Naturalization Board, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
The group will forward its proposals to the Cabinet of Ministers.
One challenge for the work group may be clarifying Latvia’s citizenship law. While the law already grants Latvian citizenship to children born to citizens living abroad, it also prohibits dual citizenship. For Latvian citizens in Ireland, this could be particularly problematic. Under Irish law, anyone born in Ireland before 2005 could be an Irish citizen, according to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. Since Jan. 1, 2005, children born to non-Irish nationals may qualify for Irish citizenship only if at least one of the parents has lived in Ireland for three of the fours before the child was born.
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