THE HIDDEN AGENDA OF INDIA FTS CONVERTING TO SINGAPORE CITIZENSHIP
Here’s why Singaporeans are getting raw deal when we have to admit more FT from India and who then convert to Singaporeans to milk Singapore, and still get to enjoy the same benefits under the OCI (Overseas Citizens Of India) scheme introduced by India to tempt India to revert back to Indian citizenship anytime they want to.
Just read the below 2 articles and you will know why Singapore and Singaporeans are being exploited under the CECA, and the hidden-agenda why many of these Indians convert to Singapore citizenship, ironically without any loss to their status under OCI.
Before my family renounced their Indian citizenship for a Singapore passport over a decade ago, strong debates raged at home. My father, the pragmatist, was frustrated by feeding his travel habit with hundreds of dollars spent on visa applications to accompany an Indian passport. My mother felt strongly connected with India and like she was being a traitor to her county by abandoning it.
To apply for the Singapore passport, they had to consider the mandatory military service that my brother had to undertake when he turned 18. Eventually, the convenience of the Singaporean passport – mobility plus the bonus of a system without the Indian bureaucracy – won out.
At the time during my family’s decision-making, I wasn’t bothered. As I’ve previously written – I’m still not sure if I really have a home. But when I had to formally renounce my Indian citizenship at 18, the process was so arduous, I could see the reasons for becoming Singaporean. I had to line up at the Indian embassy in Singapore for hours, submit countless passport photos, reams of paperwork and notarized documents. Here’s a checklist of renunciation requirements. It took multiple trips and weeks of preparation just to say goodbye to a passport I hadn’t traveled on for years!
India doesn’t allow dual nationality, so the Indian citizenship must be renounced when taking on another as an adult. The Indian government does not publish passport renunciation numbers. However, there’s been a high growth in numbers of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards conferred in the last few years. In 2013, 1.2 million people were registered as OCIs, up 20 percent from a year earlier.
The OCI Card grants people of Indian origin with other passports a lifetime entry to India and several economic benefits such as being able to own land and investments in India.
“The economic benefits of the OCI scheme, introduced in 2005, made it easier for citizens to keep their economic ties with India while changing to another passport for convenience,” says Amy Bhatt, assistant professor of gender and women’s studies with a research concentration in South Asian studies, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Ms. Bhatt’s research found that more Indian nationals were applying for American Permanent Residency status with an ultimate aim to gain a U.S. passport.
There’s also a flipside to taking on a new citizenship, which can bring about a new set of challenges. The Americans I interviewed cited drawbacks, including high taxes compared to India and the requirement to declare worldwide assets and income. Singaporeans have to contend with compulsory military conscription for themselves (if they’re men) or their male children in exchange for their red passports.
But when I think about what’s most important to me – the choice to travel and live where I want – I’m glad my family decided to give up our Indian passports. As of last year, I can travel visa-free to 167 countries, more than three times the number if I still had my Indian passport. Then again, perhaps if I was the one serving in the Singaporean Army right now, that Indian passport wouldn’t look quite so tiresome after all.
Q: Hi, I have some questions regarding dual citizenship.1) I am originally an Indian citizen but recently taken Australian citizenship and applied for OCI. Now I wish to go back to Indian for good in the year 2012. I have a house and also got a family business in India. Now what happens to those when I take OCI and Australian Citizenship ?? Also If I wish to set up a company in Indian next year bybuying a shop, what are the steps I have to take ?? Can I do any business ?? Also down the track I wish to surrender my Australian citizenship and get back my Indian citizenship ? can I do that?
Biswadeep ( Hochi )
A. Taking foreign citizenship and OCI does not affect ownership of your property in India. OCI is a lifelong visa for India and treats you at par with other Indian nationals. You can buy a shop, do business and live in India. You can probably apply for Indian citizenship after one years stay in India.
Reference: Citizenship Act 1955 Section 5 Subsection f (excerpt below)
(f)a person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents, was earlier citizen of independent India, and has been residing in India for one year immediately before making an application for registration;
Please note that Registered OCI’s may be granted Indian citizenship after 5 years from date of registration provided they stay one year in India before making an application for citizenship. As regards to your desire to surrender Australian citizenship is concerned, India does not allow their citizens to hold foreign passports. Once you get Indian citizenship you will have no choice but to give up Australian citizenship.A large number of Indians returning for permanent settlement probably choose to use their OCI status to live in India and do not apply for Indian citizenship because they want to retain their foreign citizenships.