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Posted : 2009-05-21 17:41
Updated : 2009-05-21 17:41

Overseas Birth Wont Be Ticket to Foreign School

By Park Si-soo
Staff Reporter

Children with dual citizenship will not be allowed to automatically enter foreign schools here from as early as next year.

The Ministry of Justice said Thursday that it will submit a bill to the National Assembly by July to ban dual-citizenship holders here from enjoying the same advantages as foreigners, including admissions to foreign schools.

The move is aimed at cracking down on dual-citizenship holders who take less legal responsibility and enjoy more privileges, the ministry said.

Some Korean mothers have given birth to babies overseas to obtain foreign citizenship in order to get their children into foreign schools here.

Additionally, the ministry plans to allow Koreans adopted and raised in other countries to restore their Korean citizenship without relinquishing their own nationality.

``Adopted Koreans have lost their Korean nationality without their intention to do so. And the current law mandates them to give up their own nationality to restore Korean citizenship,'' the ministry said. ``This inflexible rule has been an obstacle to identifying themselves as biologically Korean.''

Under the current law, foreign nationals have to relinquish their nationality within six months after becoming a naturalized Korean.

According to the ministry, more than 1,200 people, mostly infants, were adopted into foreign families in 2007 alone.

The bill also aims to allow talented foreign nationals to hold dual citizenship.

Under the current law, non-Koreans must stay in the country for five consecutive years to be eligible to apply for Korean citizenship. They must also relinquish their original nationality.

If enacted, however, a non-Korean evaluated by the government as a ``talented'' person showing ``outstanding performances in the fields of science, business, culture and sports'' will be given Korean citizenship, while retaining his or her nationality. The five-year requirement will not be applied to them.

pss@koreatimes.co.kr

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