- Becoming a citizen in some countries is as easy as living there for a few years, but in others, it’s nearly impossible.
- In Qatar, you would have to be a legal resident for 25 years to be able to apply for citizenship, and if you’re not a Muslim, you shouldn’t even bother.
- Here are eight of the countries where it’s most difficult to become a citizen.
It seems like US citizenship and immigration restrictions have dominated the news since the 2016 presidential election. It turns out that there are a number of other countries where becoming a citizen is quite difficult.
Aside from ancestry and extended residency, one shortcut to foreign citizenship is being a top-level athlete. Some countries will give citizenship to athletes who will improve their chances of Olympic victory.
If you aren’t a world-class pole vaulter, then you may face a long and, in some cases, nearly impossible road to gaining citizenship in countries like Switzerland, China, and Qatar.
Here are eight of the countries where it’s most difficult to become a citizen.
1. Vatican City
With about 800 residents and 450 citizens, Vatican City is the smallest country on Earth, perhaps partially because it has one of the toughest immigration policies on the planet.
According to the Library of Congress, you can become a citizen if you are a cardinal living in Vatican City or Rome, if you are a diplomat representing the Holy See, or if you live in Vatican City because you are an official of or worker for the Catholic Church
If you want to become a citizen, you need to live in Liechtenstein for at least 30 years, with each year before you turn 20 counting as two years. If you’re married to a Liechtenstein citizen and already live in the country, that time period is shortened to five years of marriage.
If you want a shortcut from the 30-year residency requirement, you can ask your community to vote you in after 10 years.
Regardless of method, you’ll have to give up your current citizenship.
The Himalayan nation of Bhutan is known for measuring its success by its National Happiness Index rather than GDP. It is one of the most isolated countries in the world.
The country didn’t open to tourism until 1974 and continues to regulate and monitor travel to the country closely, so you can imagine that the immigration process is not easy.
It takes two Bhutanese parents to be born a citizen, and if you only have one, you have to apply for naturalized citizenship after you have lived in Bhutan for 15 years. The 15-year requirement also applies to government employees.
Those with non-Bhutanese parents who don’t work for the government may apply after living in the country for 20 years, as long as you meet a list of requirements, including no record of speaking or acting against the king or country. If you do that in the future, your citizenship can be rescinded.
Even if you meet the requirements, Bhutan reserves the right to reject you for any or no reason.
If your father is not Qatari, then neither are you, even if your mother is, according to Doha News. If you have been a legal resident of Qatar for 25 years without leaving the country for more than two consecutive months (among other requirements), you can apply for citizenship.
The Doha News reported that Qatar only naturalizes about 50 foreigners a year. Additionally, naturalized citizens are not treated the same way under the law as citizens born in Qatar, likely because the country provides very generous government benefits that would be costly to extend to all citizens.
5. United Arab Emirates
The UAE, home to the sparkling city of Dubai, will let you apply to be a citizen if you have legally resided in the Emirates for 30 years, according to the CIA.
Federal Law No. 17 states that if you are an Arab citizen from Oman, Qatar, or Bahrain, you can apply for naturalization after three years of residency. Arabs from other countries are eligible after seven years of residence in the UAE. Descendants of Emirate parents are eligible for citizenship if they were born of known or unknown parents within the state.
As of December 2011, UAE women can pass their citizenship to their children, according to Congressional Research Service.
According to the Nationality Law of 1999, after living in Kuwait for 20 years (15 for citizens of other Arab countries), you can apply to be granted Kuwaiti citizenship, but only if you are Muslim by birth or conversion. If you converted, you must have been practicing for five years. You must also speak Arabic fluently.
The Nationality Law also states that the wife of a Kuwaiti man can ask to become a citizen after being married for 15 years.
According to a new law that went into effect in January 2018, to make a home in the snowy Alps of Switzerland, you must have lived in the country for 10 years and have a working permit called a C permit.
The C permit, which allows you to live and work in the country, requires five years of continuous residence in Switzerland for EU nationals, people from European Free Trade Association countries, US citizens, and Canadian citizens. Everyone else has to be there for 10 years before they are eligible.
The Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China allows foreigners to try become naturalized citizens if they have relatives who are Chinese citizens, have settled in China, or “have other legitimate reasons.”
If you don’t have a relative who’s a Chinese citizen and lives in China, your chances of becoming a Chinese citizen are slim. According to the CIA, while naturalization is possible, it is extremely difficult. Long-term residency is required but not specified.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.