President proposes updated version of the citizenship law

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Last February, the Mongolian Parliament discussed a revised version of the Law of Mongolia on Citizenship. The purpose of this law is to regulate matters relating to the acquisition, restoration, and cessation of Mongolian citizenship. Thus, it is a fundamental law in terms of Mongolia's security and sovereignty. As per the previous law, the revised law does not permit dual citizenship. Many Parliament members shared the view that Mongolia has lost some of our best citizens because we do not permit dual citizenship. When a well educated and qualified Mongolian works and lives somewhere abroad, they often give up their Mongolian citizenship and choose the citizenship of that country. Since 1995, approximately 58,000 Mongolians have renounced Mongolian citizenship and taken up a different nationality. However, Mongolia is steadfast in its position of not granting dual citizenship, as the principal is set out in the Constitution. The Chief Secretary of the President’s Office, P.Tsagaan, stated that even if a Mongolian becomes a naturalized citizen of another country, that individual would still have the same rights as any other Mongolian citizen, except for political rights, including the right to run for any kind of election, vote, or work for a government organization. The article concerning the Mongolian "Blue Card" contained the most amendments in the revised law. There is a lot of negative press in relation to this, with people stating that the advocates of the revised law are trying to overrun the country with foreigners. Every country has racists and nationalists. In any event, their voices went pretty much unheard, as the revised law did not get much attention. There are three requirements to be satisfied in order to obtain a Mongolian Blue Card. Firstly, one has to be an ethnic Mongolian and have the same knowledge of the Mongolian language as the average citizen. Secondly, one must be a person who has qualifications that are useful to Mongolia, such as high-level qualifications or experience in science, technology, art, or sport. Thirdly, one should have made some form of investment in Mongolia. The Mongolian Blue Card is mainly for people who have married foreigners and renounced their Mongolian citizenship. It allows them to come to Mongolia at anytime. For now, approximately 16,000 adults (as well as approximately 9,000 children) have a Blue Card. The Blue Card option is also used by people who need a visa to get into Mongolia. Research conducted by border officials shows that many people have said that as Mongolia does not allow dual citizenship, they cannot be citizens, but they still want to visit this beautiful country and pray at Burkhan Khaldun and visit the Chinggis Khaan monument. In terms of Mongolian citizenship, the following conditions need to be met. First, one should have proper knowledge of the Mongolian language.  Second, one should have proper knowledge of the Mongolian Constitution and Mongolian customs. Third, one should have the means to live and support oneself. Fourth, one needs to have permanently resided in Mongolia for a period of at least five years before the date of their application for citizenship, must be living in the country for no less than nine months out of the year, and paid for their taxes properly. Fifth, one's relationship with foreign countries after acquiring Mongolian citizenship must not negatively impact the reputation and interests of Mongolia. Finally, one must not have committed any crime within a period of time set out in the same law. There are some defects in the law. For example, it states that based on the request of the Government of Mongolia, foreigners and stateless persons can acquire Mongolian citizenship.  But therefore, even those who can harm the reputation and interests of Mongolia, or those who have committed crimes in the past, can become a Mongolian citizen based on this government request. Another error is that the amended law states that Mongolia does not permit dual citizenship, but goes on to state (in Article 4.1.3) that persons who hold dual citizenship may not work for the Government of Mongolia. Obviously, if dual citizenship is not permitted, how can someone hold dual citizenship and seek a government position. Nevertheless, the Law of Mongolia on Citizenship is on track to be adopted by Parliament. Let us hope that in the near future, the Mongolian Blue Card will be as famous as the U.S. Green Card.

Myagmardorj Buyanjargal
Myagmardorj is a freelance writer and certified translator who holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from the National University of Mongolia and Bachelor of Science Degree in engineering in mining technology from the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.