Many expats, especially if they were born abroad, can end up having dual citizenship but not all benefit from being able to have a passport for two countries.

One such expat population are Indonesians living abroad who take up citizenship in their new country. Current laws mean that they are not allowed to have dual citizenship. It is estimated that around eight million Indonesians live abroad.



Now a campaign has been launched to change the law. "Indonesians living abroad, have potential, investments, connections and entrepreneurial spirit. These can only be developed better in Indonesia if we have double citizenship," said Indah Morgan of the Indonesian Kindness Movement.

He explained that Law No. 12/2006 on citizenship does not allow Indonesians to have dual citizenship. If an Indonesian is awarded citizenship in another country, his or her Indonesian citizenship is automatically invalid.

She spoke at a forum in Java attended by people living in 14 different countries and pointed out that Indonesians living abroad also actively conducted soft diplomacy that promotes Indonesian interests.

"In this era of globalization, the potential for Indonesians to live abroad is even larger," added Morgan who is originally from Malang, East Java, holds an Australian passport, but currently lives in China.

She also pointed out that expats like her cannot invest in Indonesia because they are not permitted to open an Indonesian bank account as they don’t have Indonesian citizenship.

"If we have dual citizenship then the Indonesian law can protect our investments here. If a person like me can invest directly here, it will be very good because I don’t need to go through complicated bureaucracy," says Morgan.

She described the situation in China where dual citizenship is allowed and said that this has resulted in the country benefitting from investment into China from its citizens living abroad.

She also pointed out that with dual citizenship Indonesians holding foreign citizenship would also be able to help develop Indonesia with their individual potential, adding that without dual citizenship policy, Indonesia will lose children born from mixed marriages.

Also at the event was Eva Reinhard who is originally from Magelang, Central Java but currently lives in Germany. She too wants to see a change in the law. She believes that the government is reluctant to change the policy on security grounds.

"Such a worry is not present in Germany where the government allows dual citizenship," says Reinhard.