O’Neill: Refugees won’t be citizens

National, Normal

The National, Friday July 26th, 2013

 ASYLUM seekers will not necessarily become citizens of PNG, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

He told a radio talkback show on Wednesday that asylum seekers, like other foreigners, must meet certain conditions, including speaking one of the local languages, before being granted citizenship.

O’Neill said some people were spreading false stories that asylum seekers would be granted PNG citizenship.

He said the detention centre on Manus “does not mean that they become citizens of our country”.

“They will be processed under the United Nations conventions that PNG is a signatory to,” O’Neill said.

“If they do want to apply for citizenship, like any other foreigner, they must meet the conditions our law sets.

“That is they must speak pidgin or one of the local languages, they must pay a fee, they must have lived (in PNG) for more than eight years.

“They must meet all of these criteria we have set.”