Sunday, October 17, 2021

Gov’t to review immigration law to attract foreign investors

Successful foreign investors will not have to wait for a period of years to apply for citizenship, but will now be offered immediate citizenship provided they meet all the requirements, Labour and Home Affairs Minister Edwin Batshu said this week.

Batshu, who was submitting budget proposals for his Ministry in Parliament, revealed that there is an ongoing review of some existing laws including the Citizenship Act. Other laws that the Ministry is reviewing and implementing include amongst others the Trade Disputes Act, Employment Act, Factories, Marriage, Workers Compensation and Trade Unions and Employers Organizations Act. Under the new law, prospective and well known successful foreign investors will be given immediate citizenship to create jobs for Batswana especially the vulnerable youths.

The labour minister said Tuesday that some of the applicants for citizenship are prospective and potential investors with the ability to absorb quite a considerable number of Batswana into their firms. Some of the legislatures who debated Batshu’s budget noted that if the law is not changed, eventually the prospective investors will slip into other neighbouring countries whose laws do not require so much bureaucratic rules and delays.

Under the current Immigration and Citizenship Act, a successful foreign applicant has to wait for a period of five years in the country to acquire citizenship, albeit under the prerogative of Minister of Labour and Home Affairs. Even if they have stayed in the country for the required period, foreign applicants are moved from pillar to post as government officials require bribes.

“The situation is rampant in my constituency especially amongst the Chinese and Indians,” Boteti East MP Slumber Tsogwane said, calling on government to give citizenship for successful businesses which have been doing exceptionally well in the country for years.

“Some of these individuals have stayed in country for years with their children having schooled in the country with notable and admirable academic qualifications. You better look into these before it is too late. We are losing the cream of society some of whom are decorated doctors and engineers who can assist to grow the country’s struggling economy,” Tsogwane further said.

Figures from Labour and Home Affairs show that through 2015, of the 538 applicants for citizenship received and considered; only 117 were approved. Meanwhile Batshu requested a sum of P154, 620, 000 for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for the year 2016/17- an increase of P3, 514, 360 or 2percent of the 2015/16 budget allocation.

“There has been an increase in overtime for staff working at ports as some often operate for extended hours,” he said.

For the development budget, Batshu requested a sum of P33, 653, 644 while the recurrent budget will amount to P380, 500, 860 all of which Parliament will approve Wednesday. 

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