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Wed 7 Mar 2012 01:41 PM

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53 'foreign' children granted UAE citizenship

Move comes weeks after naturalising 1,117 born to Emirati women

53 'foreign' children granted UAE citizenship
Until recently most children born to foreign fathers in the GCC have been denied citizenship in their country of birth.

The UAE has granted citizenship to 53 children of Emirati women married to foreign men just weeks after naturalising 1,117 citizens.

“The General Department of Naturalisation and Residency at the Ministry of Interior granted today the UAE citizenship to 53 candidates born to Emirati mothers married to foreigners,” state news agency WAM reported.

Until recently most children born to foreign fathers in the GCC, home to a disproportionate number of expatriates, have been denied citizenship of their country of birth. Tunisia was previously the only country to offer gender equality in terms of parents being able to pass citizenship to their children.

Naturalisation has become a hot topic of debate in the Gulf in recent years. Bahrain expatriates in August called for a review of the country’s citizenship rules in sessions of a national dialogue for reforms in the Gulf kingdom.

Expat workers called on the National Dialogue, a state-appointed body tasked with airing political grievances in the wake of widespread political protests that rocked the Gulf state last year, to review rules relating to citizenship, suggesting the children of longtime residents should receive residency automatically after the age of 18.

Bahrain and the UAE have both granted citizenship to children of local mothers married to foreign men in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Bahrain granted Bahraini nationality to 335 people born to Bahraini mothers and foreign fathers in December.

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