Allowing dual citizenship for children born to Latvian citizens abroad has received strong support in a survey conducted by the Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration.
A total of 270 people from 17 countries responded to the survey conducted July 24-30. Of those, 92 percent said they support dual citizenship for children born abroad.
A task force established by the secretariat to study the problem of recent emigration to Ireland and elsewhere has proposed that such children should be granted dual citizenship. Latvia’s citizenship law already states that children born to Latvian citizens are themselves Latvian citizens, regardless of where they are born. However, some confusion exists because the law also states that people who become Latvian citizens may not hold dual citizenship.
The secretariat posed five questions in a one-page survey distributed via e-mail to Latvian organizations and media outlets abroad. The survey was not scientifically random. The total number of respondents represents about a tenth of a percent of all Latvians abroad.
Oskars Kastēns, the integration minister, said he is pleasantly surprised with the active participation in the survey.
“Such activity shows their desire to be involved in what is happening in Latvia,” Kastēns said in an Aug. 1 press release, “and that the dual citizenship question is important not just to the state, but also in their families.”
A total of 69 percent of survey respondents said they agree grant dual citizenship would encourage return migration. An additional 27 percent agreed dual citizenship in addition to other efforts to address issues of well-being would encourage return migration.
Asked if granting dual citizenship to children would encourage involvement in Latvia’s democratic processes such as elections, 89 percent agreed it would.
But only 63 percent of respondents said they are informed of the secretariat’s task force’s proposals for how to get Latvian emigrants back to the homeland.
The secretariat will include the survey results in a report to the Cabinet of Ministers on the return migration issue. Kastēns also is expected to present the results to a task force that is to be established to study the dual citizenship question.
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