penalise Indian nationals opting foreign citizenship

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Old 09-Jul-2010
penalise Indian nationals opting foreign citizenship

London: An influential group of Indian-origin professionals has criticised the Ministry of External Affairs for levying a fee while surrendering Indian passports when expatriates acquire British citizenship.

Under Indian law, Persons of Indian Origin, who have acquired foreign citizenship, are required to surrender their Indian passports to the nearest Indian mission immediately after acquisition of the foreign citizenship. A fee of 102 pounds has now been levied on such individuals surrendering their Indian passports, after which a ’surrender certificate’ is issued. This certificate is mandatory for future consular services such as visa, Persons of Indian Origin or Overseas Citizen of India cards.

Terming the levy of the fee as a ’fine’ for surrendering Indian citizenship, Amit Kapadia, executive director of the HSMP Forum said: "We are deeply concerned over the Indian government’s repeated attempts to penalise Indian nationals opting for foreign citizenship in this manner. We have received many complaints from British Indians who have expressed their resentment against the humiliation meted out to them and their families."

Apart from the alleged unfairness of imposing a fee to surrender Indian passports, Kapadia said new rules levying different fees for the same consular service had worsened the situation. For those Indian-origin people who acquired British citizenship before 31 May 2010, the fee is 14 pounds, while the fee applicable to those acquiring such citizenship after 1 June 2010 is 102 pounds.

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