Myanmar opens door to diaspora's permanent return

Government says close to finalizing plan to grant long term residency to 'foreigners'

Myanmar opens door to diaspora's permanent return

World Bulletin/News Desk

Myanmar has nearly finalized plans to grant long term residency to foreigners, state media reported Saturday -- allowing former citizens who fled the military junta to return home permanently.

Many Myanmar nationals fled the country and adopted foreign citizenship during five decades of oppressive military rule, which ended with the introduction of democratic reforms in 2011.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported Vice President Nyan Tun’s announcement that a scheme to allow foreigners to apply for permanent residency is close to completion.

Tun told a ministerial meeting in the capital Nay Pyi Taw that it would be the “first time in the history of Myanmar” that such a system has been introduced.

The plans are aimed at enabling “scholars, experts, intellectuals and investors” to live and work in the country, Tun said. It is hoped their expertise will help an economy crippled by decades of mismanagement.

It will also mean former citizens will be able to return to live with their families and work in the country.

The Myanmar diaspora is thought to number in the millions. In 2009, the International Organization for Migration estimated that 10 percent of Myanmar’s population, then estimated at 50 million to 55 million, were living abroad, mostly in Thailand and Malaysia.

Myanmar does not allow dual citizenship, meaning those who switched nationality cannot currently return to live permanently in their home country.

Foreigners have been flooding into Myanmar since the nominally civilian government came to power three years ago. In 2012, the number of tourists travelling to Myanmar reached more than 1 million, climbing to just over 2 million the following year.

Successful applicants will initially be allowed a stay of up to five years, Immigration Minister Khin Yi told the Irrawaddy news website earlier this year.

 

Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2014, 15:50
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