Rosso clarifies, Citizenship for Sportperson Opens to all Athletes

Wednesday 3 April 2024

The  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Lands, Physical Planning and Immigration, Hon. John Rosso, has  clarified that International athletes who want to represent Papua New Guinea can apply through the Citizenship for Sportsperson pathway and meet the requirements before citizenship can be granted to them.

 Hon. Rosso, who is also responsible for  Border Security, said this in response to an article published in the  Post-Courier on Wednesday 27 March 2024,  claiming  there was citizenship issue concerning   PNG athletes.

“We understand the need for representative sport, and as much as the government is willing to give citizenship to sportspersons who express their intention to represent the country, we must also respect the stringent application process and requirements athletes-and indeed all applicants must meet to qualify for citizenship,” he explained.

“Athletes who wish to represent PNG can apply for citizenship through the dual citizenship pathway if they are nationals of a prescribed country, or citizenship by naturalisation pathway for eminent sportspersons from a non-prescribed country.”

At present, the prescribed countries for dual citizenship are Australia, Fiji, Germany, New Zealand, Samoa, United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Vanuatu.

 Mr Rosso said the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (PNG ICSA) will consider expanding the list, although this must be done in consultation with other relevant government agencies, and with countries that would also offer dual citizenship to PNG citizens under reciprocal arrangements.

The Citizenship for Sportsperson application requirements include, for example, that the athletes must show proof of medals, having won either gold, silver, or bronze before, or are likely to win one of these three medals representing PNG in a regional or global sporting event.

Other specified requirements include a support letter from the sporting body in PNG with the applicant’s sporting background, police clearance report from PNG and the country of which the person holds foreign citizenship, two-character references and supporting documents including birth certificates (must be over 18 years old), passport bio page, and receipt of payment of the relevant migration fee.

Hon. Rosso admitted, there have been administrative challenges in the past three years, including with the appointment of a Citizenship Advisory Committee that has caused the delay in vetting citizenship applications.

 “This, however, was addressed with the appointment of a new chairman and deputy chairman late last year, and the committee is focused on clearing all applications as soon as practicable.”

The PNG ICSA is looking at possible amendments to the Citizenship Act that allow for more efficient pathways while at the same time still ensure that the process is complied with.

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