Questions raised on involvement of MPs in citizenship programme

Before unanimously passing the Bill for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act No. of 2018, Members of Parliament from both sides of the House raised concerns, queries and questions to the Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, who is responsible for the Citizenship Investment and Immigration Program (CIIP).

Questions were raised if some of the Members of Parliament (MPs) are also the Agents for the CIIP Program? Justice Minister Don Ken, questioned if some MPs are CIIP Agents and who are they?

In response, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, who introduced the amendment to the Bill, told the MPs that if they want to find out if some MPs are agents for the CIP and how many agents there are, they should approach the Citizenship Office to find out for themselves.

On the question of how much revenue has so far derived from the sale of the Vanuatu Green Passport under the CIIP Program, the Prime Minister said the information on the question raised will be presented to the MPs by the Minister of Finance during the budget session.

The Bill amends the Citizenship Act ( CAP 112) to give effect to the Government’s policy to create a new category of citizenship under the citizenship Act, namely the Development Support Program (DSP).

The Government is currently operating the Development Support Program as a category for honorary citizenship under section 20 of the Citizenship Act.

The DSP replaced the Vanuatu Economic Rehabilitation Program (VERP) which was a honorary citizenship program being developed to attract investors to contribute towards the rehabilitation of Vanuatu after being hit by Cyclone Pam in 2015.

The VERP ceased to operate in 2016.

The DSP Program that is currently being operated as honorary citizenship program, will cease to operate once the provisions in this Act commence.

All the designated agents being appointed by the Citizenship Commission, for the DSP, will continue to be the designated agents for the purposes of the DSP being established under this Act.

This would mean that the Contracts which were entered into between the Commission and each of the designated agent will be amended to cater for this new arrangement.

The Commission has appointed 38 designated agents who are currently marketing and promoting the DSP worldwide.

The Bill for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act No. of 2018 was passed unanimously by both sides in parliament.

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