Wellington High Commission commences printing
Auckland, March 2, 1019
People of Indian Origin (PIO) who are eligible to obtain the status of ‘Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) can now hope to have their OCI cards issued sooner with the printing facility installed at the Office of the High Commission in Wellington.
High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli said in a Statement that the time taken for process of issuing OCI Cards printed in India was about 50 working days.
“However, with the printing facility now available in Wellington, New Zealanders who are eligible and apply for OCI, can expect to receive it in about 30 working days. This is a part of the continuous efforts of the Government of India to simplify, improve and expedite provision of Consular Services,” he said.
First Card Recipient
Kirti Garg, an IT expert based in India, installed the system at the High Commission and trained the Mission’s staff to operate the OCI card printing.
At a brief presentation ceremony held on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at the High Commission, Mr Kohli presented the first OCI Card printed at his Mission to Wellington based young recipient Keshav Agarwal in the presence of Ms Garg and Paramjeet Singh, Second Secretary (Consular, Visa and Community Services).
Mr Kohli encouraged all eligible PIO to obtain OCI Cards.
“An OCI Card not only serves as a lifelong visa but also entitles the holder to benefits such as parity with Non-Resident Indians in financial, economic and educational matters,” he said.
NRIs are different
However, Indian Newslink understands that while Non-Resident Indians (NRIs who are Indian passport holders) can exercise their franchise at all elections and vote in their constituency if they are registered and are physically present at the place of polling on the voting day, OCI holders do not have this right, since they are not Indian citizens.
The OCI Scheme was introduced in response to demands for Dual Citizenship by the Indian Diaspora, particularly in developed countries.
It was introduced by The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005 in August 2005 and was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention held in Hyderabad in January 2006.
The Constitution of India prevents Indian citizens from holding Dual Citizenship, like many other countries including those of the Arab Gulf, Singapore and Malaysia.
As such, the OCI is not actual citizenship of India, although the British government argues differently saying that OCI is dual nationality.
Any foreign national, who was eligible to be a citizen of India on or before January 26, 1950 or was a citizen of India at any time on or after January 26, 1950 or who belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947 and her/his children or grandchildren or great grandchildren, provided that his or her country of citizenship allows Dual Citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India. Minor children of such a person are also eligible for OCI. However, serving or retired defence personnel cannot be registered as OCI, even if otherwise eligible.
Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals and those who have held the passports of these countries anytime in the past, are not eligible to apply for OCI.
India’s High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli with (from left) Kirti Garg, Keshav Agarwal and Paramjeet Singh (Picture Supplied)