Permanent Residency Not for All Foreigners: Minister

Burmese Immigration Minister Khin Yi. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

The Burmese government’s permanent residency scheme (PRS) will be divided into two categories and contain conditions for foreigners, according to Soe Thein, one of six government ministers attached to the President’s Office.

Before President Thein Sein’s landmark press conference on Sunday, Soe Thein told The Irrawaddy that the upcoming PRS will be categorized in terms of three or five years and only foreigners helping to develop the country will be eligible.

He explained that permanent residency will be granted to both Burmese nationals who have obtained citizenship in other countries as well as foreigners, and the government wants to implement the system within months.

“Like Singapore and others, we won’t grant this status to every foreigner,” the minister said. “Foreigners who will invest in Burma, professors and those who can help develop the country will be considered for the PRS. It will last for three or five years.”

In the weekend press conference, Thein Sein told reporters that he already discussed this plan while meeting Burmese communities during his recent trip to the United States. Burmese nationals who have moved abroad for various reasons and obtained citizenship in foreign countries will be able to return to their country of origin through the PRS, he said.

“Burmese in the US, who are now US citizens, asked me what they should do if they wanted to come back and visit their relatives in Burma for a long period of time,” said Thein Sein. “I told them that we couldn’t grant them dual-citizenship but would arrange a PRS for them.”

Soe Thein said that the government will issue the necessary orders and directives to implement the PRS and then submit a bill for approval by Parliament.

Burmese Immigration Minister Khin Yi told The Irrawaddy that the PRS will be implemented over the next three months and until then Burmese people with foreign citizenship can come back with social visas.

There are also thousands of Burmese nationals who hold travel documents of foreign countries without taking full citizenship, and so have had to relinquish their Burmese citizenship as a consequence. It remains unclear how this group would fit into the proposed PRS.

According to Section 13 of Burma’s 1982 Citizenship Law, a citizen cannot also acquire citizenship for a second country.

11 Responses to Permanent Residency Not for All Foreigners: Minister

  1. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Sometimes the thing that brings us together also pulls us apart. Sort of like a zipper. Keep working hard to find something that works for Burma to get what it wants: Development.  Picking Singapore as a role model  seems quite unfit even though the thinking of certain minister of Burma might be as small as the size of Singapore, a “hybrid” country, with authoritarian and democratic elements.  Remember that the physical sizes of Burma is as big as the thought of Singaporeans.

    It has to be more innovative in finding good ideas of what suit Burma with the policy of Burmese First! All the Visa that minister has said above are just visitor Visas. A visitor means a person who is lawfully in Burma, or seeks to come into Burma for a temporary purpose (such as work, study or visit) and who is not a Burmese citizen, or permanent resident.  

    So, it is better not to use a word like permanent residency scheme (PRS) as it offers 3 to 5 years residency in Burma, not permanent.  Permanent resident should be someone who has acquired permanent resident status by immigrating to Burma, but is not yet a Burmese citizen. Permanent residents should have rights and privileges in Burma even though they remain citizens of their home country. 

    The wrong word, the wrong term, picking the wrong model, but a good start with good intention to open up Burma for its development!

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    • Because of the stupid and dictatorial BSPP regime many Burmese scholars of the 1960s had to adopt foreing nationalities, just for survival. They never denounced Burmese citizenship. It is logically their fundamental human right to remain Burmese. The law acn be an ass. The 1982 citizenship law must be amended in respected of native Burmese who were forced to take up foreing nationality. Amend it so that dual citizenship can be granted. Nothing wrong with it. It can only beneift Burma. Burma first!
      Many Western countries favour those with high level skills and actively encourage them to come and work in the rich Western countries. Why is Burma so stupid? amend the 1982 citizenship law to let highly educated, experineced and successful Burmese to come home to contribute. Just work out how mucht it cost to get a university degree in US or UK?

      Welcome all those against the BSPP regime with red carpet!

  2. Amending the Myanmar Citizenship Laws in accordance with those of the West (eg, those of the US, Canada, UK, EU, etc.) will attract aliens with exceptional talents, who will develop Myanmar into a strong modern nation. All people in the Union should embrace multi-cultural pluralism and give up racism. Develop all minorities to their fullest potential. Amend the Constitution to grant dual citizenship to talented people. Wake up Myanmar. Wake up to 21st century. Be brave to welcome success. Best of luck!

  3. Mr. Khin Yi is the symbol of corruption. He was Chief of Police Department which means chief of pimps, chief of brothels, chief of money laundering, chief of all kinds of illegal activities. When he became a minister under the Thein Sein administration, we all can tell what kind of government Thein Sein is leading. Whoever is from Rangoon knows the Mayor of Rangoon and Chief of the Police  Department. Corrupt! Corrupt! Corrupt. Mistresses everywhere.

  4. Is the Thein Sein government like Ne Win’s way to Socialism from his military rule? Samo samo? Ne Win took off his uniform and put on civilian clothes. Everything was the same. Clothes do not matter but the person inside the cloth needed to change. Is our current government a copycat of Ne Win’s tactics? 

  5. I don’t think they really understand the meaning of ” permanent ” and putting a term of 3 years and 5 years to Permanent Residency. Are there any educated people in the Ministry other than the Minister to advise him?


    Khin yee does not understand the permanent in English
    meaning.  Burmese is the poorest country
    in the world so how  Burma can copy the
    Singapore status , like now. Singapore was ruled by British in the past and now
    is ruled  by  Mr. Lee, his family and his group. The
    history , the social economic status, and the culture are totally different from
    those of Burma. Singapore has no Pinglong agreement , no ethnics problem, being
    lack of natural resources , being British educated rulers, being following the
    British system ( other way so called–selfish system-only smart in making money
    from poor and helpless Burma) for their country. China is very poor before
    reform so  Kin Yee and thein sein  look down China’s permanent ID system. Khin
    Yee think  Burma is attractive because of
    rich natural resources.  Bama army is
    able to bully and is bullying all ethnics’ natural resources whatever and whenever Bama army
    likes bamanization. They can keep DASSK silent in ethnic issue as well.  They want to prevent DASSK’s children to come
    back to help DASSK.

    Khin yee must know that the poor Burma is now in the
    bankruptcy state due to the bama U Nu and bama military rules. Thein sein thinks
    world bank, Japan government money and US investment banks will come Burma in
    hurry. Your natural resources are raw ones ( cannot make reasonable money and
    value at once) , most of your people are in low education and low income. The
    worst thing is that Kyin yee and thein sein 
    are more arrogant than Chinese leaders that they need only talent
    oversea Burmese in their initial reform. 
    They think Burma is now in the status of Singapore. Most talent children
    of the oversea Burmese can not speak Burmese. Most talent oversea Burmese (engineer,
    doctor, professor, lawyers, financer and accountant )are too old to come back
    to build the country now.  The new young oversea
    Burmese talents  are struggling and
    learning in the Singapore, US, UK and Australia for survival.   Thein
    sein and Khin Yee are worried about the burden from the poor oversea Burmese worker
    class if they come back so they discriminate the low class oversea or skill
    laborer Burmese.  Actually, in Burma, there
    is no social security for poor and aged people all along. Everywhere is poor so
    thief and robber have no place to find their earning. Thein sein and Kin Yee
    are in the dreaming that the educated and rich oversea Business Burmese will
    come back to open offices , like them under the air condition and fans. They will
    not welcome the oversea Burmese worker who learns a lot from oversea factories
    as a skill worker. Thei sein and Kin Yee are in the military class which means
    higher than skill worker but fortunately equal to educated or businessman in
    the respect of classification of oversea Burmese who will help the country,
    Burma.   Please , do not look down Chinese ID card system
    and do not dream that  Bankruptcy  Burma is in the same status of Singapore. You
    , Khin yee and thein sein do not love your own people and do not take responsibility
    why Burmese were and are trying to find green grass in oversea. I am very sure
    that bama military personals ( rapists, bullying ethnics)  are less valuable than those of the skill
    worker class of ordinary Burmese when both are in oversea.  It should be all for oversea Burmese and their
    children who are holding foreign passports.

  7. Business Nationalized By General Ne Win 15 March 1962.
    Not been Compensated!
    Fifty Years!
    When will Thein Sein Compensate The Business Nationalized By General Ne Win?

    Citizen Of Burma should not be treated as Foreigner nor get PRS;

    Singaporeans Chinese have taken over The Indian Business Vacuum, created by General Ne Win, 1962 Nationaliztion of Business past fifty years. 

    Naypyidaw Government is Illegal as per above inducement.

    Ponder upon it!

  8. This whole exercise is a complete waste of time.

    Time and time again we are told that the Government is studying what other countries do with a view to implement something similar. Time and time again they screw it up, the Foreign Investment Law is a good example. The problem is that these other countries have in many cases spent years developing a system to cater for their own requirements, along the way they’ve improved it and made changes as necessary. Not here it seems, they just want to copy someone elses idea and screw it up.

    Why would any Myanmar living overseas apply for this? Where’s the attraction? The incentive to come back? I suspect they will happily remain where they are. There are far too many Myanmar people who have bought into the propaganda of recent years that Myanmar is so rich in natural resources and that everyone wants to come here, these Myanmar people who have left are not that stupid, their eyes have been opened.

    Meanwhile thousands of young Myanmar people are applying for passports trying to leave the country to seek a better life and send money back for their families, that’s the actual reality.

  9. so what kind of passport would the PR travel on? Burmese, or adopted nationality?

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