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Stateless people’s citizenship application considers different circumstances: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE — A child born in Singapore to a stateless parent can become a Singapore citizen if his other parent is a Singapore citizen and the parents are legally married to each other at the time of his birth.

Stateless people’s citizenship application considers different circumstances: Shanmugam

Leon, 6, is stateless like his mother Ms Wang Mei Har, 46. Ms Wang is a single mother. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — A child born in Singapore to a stateless parent can become a Singapore citizen if his other parent is a Singapore citizen and the parents are legally married to each other at the time of his birth.

And the circumstances in which the person became stateless may also be relevant in their application to become a Singapore citizen, said Home Affairs and Law Minister Mr K Shanmugam in a written parliamentary reply on Monday (Oct 10). For example, some people may have chosen to give up their foreign citizenship, or may not have acquired foreign citizenship because of the actions or inactions of their parents.

“The different circumstances will have to be considered and not everyone who is stateless, and in Singapore, can be treated in the same way,” said Mr Shanmugam who was responding to a question from Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-Yin.

Ms Kuik had asked what the Ministry of Home Affairs’ advice is for stateless parents who are seeking a solution for their Singapore-born children, so that they do not remain stateless.

Among the more than 1,000 people who are stateless in Singapore, around 82 per cent are permanent residents (PRs) who are eligible for healthcare, education and housing benefits, as of end August. These stateless PRs can become Singapore citizens if they meet the necessarily requirements, proving that they can make a “positive contribution to the country, as a citizen”, Mr Shanmugum said.

If a stateless applicant has Singapore citizen family members, this would also be a “plus factor” in the evaluation, he added.

As for the reasons for keeping the criteria for obtaining permanent residency and citizenship opaque, Mr Shanmugam said: “We do not reveal the detailed criteria for granting (them) as it is not in our interest to do so. Revealing the detailed criteria would, among other things, create sensitivities in their countries of origin.”

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