Summary of the Draft Homeland Return Bill
- The Act
(a) applies to a Historical Diasporan, meaning a descendant of an African who was enslaved in the diaspora, and a Ghanaian in the diaspora; and
(b) establishes the Homeland Return Commission to:
i. facilitate the return of Historical Diasporans to Ghana;
ii. expedite processes and streamline pathways for Historical Diasporans to acquire Ghanaian citizenship; and
iii. expedite processes and streamline pathways for Ghanaians abroad to acquire a Ghanaian passport, and resettle in Ghana.
- The Commission will operate under the policy directive of the Minister for the interior.
- NOTE: The Homeland Return Bill does not supersede the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573), the Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act 591) nor the provisions for dual citizenship regulations, but supplements them where applicable; specifically, to facilitate the acquisition of Ghanaian citizenship by an approved Historical Diasporan.
B. Conditions for entry into Ghana for the purpose of acquiring Ghanaian citizenship
- To be eligible for entry into Ghana, compliance with the conditions for entry into Ghana, as in accordance with Section 4 of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573), is required:
(a) must be in possession of a valid passport or other travel document and a valid visa to enter Ghana where applicable, or
(b) must be exempted from obtaining a visa to enter Ghana; or
(c) must have the name of that person endorsed on a visa and be in the company of the holder of the visa; or
(d) must have applied and been granted an emergency entry permit, or
(e) must be a person admitted to diplomatic status by the Government;
- The Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573), provides that where an immigration officer is satisfied that a non-Ghanaian citizen entering Ghana has met all the relevant requirements of the Act, the immigration officer may permit that person to enter Ghana for a specified period.
C. A prohibited immigrant shall not be permitted to enter Ghana:
This is a non-Ghanaian citizen who:
(a) has a deportation order in force against that person made under any law;
(b) is unable to show means of support including support for any dependents, or is destitute and
likely to be a burden on the public;
(c) refuses to submit to a medical examination after being required to do so by a health officer;
(d) has been sentenced in a foreign country for an extraditable offence;
(e) has been certified by a health officer to be medically unfit to enter Ghana;
(f) has been declared by the Minister by executive instrument to be a person whose entry into
Ghana is not conducive to the public good, as the Immigration laws may specify.
(g) is the dependent of a prohibited immigrant; or
(h) is a person declared a specified entity under Section 19 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008 (Act
D. Diaspora residence and work permit
- A Historical Diasporan who intends to apply for citizenship shall obtain a diaspora residence and work permit at a cost.
- A Historical Diasporan who has been lawfully admitted entry into Ghana, may on an application to the Comptroller-General in the prescribed manner, be issued with a diaspora residence and work permit for four (4) years.
- A Historical Diasporan who applies for a diaspora residence and work permit shall be of good standing.
E. Acquisition of Ghanaian citizenship
(Citizenship approved by the President, or acquired through marriage.)
- A Historical Diasporan, if approved by the President, may apply to acquire Ghanaian citizenship by registration, and be registered as a citizen if the Minister is satisfied on the application that,
that person –
(a) is of good character;
(b) is ordinarily resident in Ghana;
(c) “has been resident for an aggregate of three (3) years within a consecutive five (5) year period, immediately before the application;
A person who has not commenced the process to acquire citizenship within the five
(5) year period, no longer qualifies to apply for citizenship under this Act. (The
Individual must pursue citizenship through the existing Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act
591), Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) or pursue residency under Right of Abode).
(d) can speak and understand an indigenous language of Ghana.
- A non-Ghanaian citizen person who is or was married to a citizen may also apply to be registered as a citizen.
- Where the marriage of a person registered as a citizen under Paragraph E. (2) is dissolved, that person shall continue to be a citizen unless the citizenship is renounced.
- A child of the marriage of a person registered as a citizen under Paragraph E. (2) shall continue to be a citizen unless the child renounces the citizenship.
- If it appears to the Minister that the marriage was entered into primarily for the purpose of obtaining the registration, the Minister shall request for the applicant to establish that the marriage was entered into in good faith.
- A person shall not be registered as a citizen unless that person has taken the oath of allegiance.
F. Certificate of Citizenship
Where the Minister approves an application for citizenship, the Minister shall within ninety (90) days issue the applicant with a certificate of citizenship.
G. Refusal of application for citizenship
The Minister may refuse to approve an application for citizenship if:
(a) the applicant is engaged in an activity:
i. directed against Ghanaians;
ii. likely to endanger public health;
iii. inimical to the security of the State; or
iv. prejudicial to public morality or public interest;
(b) the applicant has a past criminal record which is likely to endanger public welfare;
(c) background check reveals adverse findings.
H. Renunciation of Ghanaian citizenship
A Historical Diasporan who acquires Ghanaian citizenship may renounce the citizenship in
accordance with Section 17 of the Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act 591).
I. Deprivation of Ghanaian citizenship
A Historical Diasporan who acquires Ghanaian citizenship may be deprived of the Ghanaian
citizenship in accordance with Section 18 of the Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act 591)
Technical Committee on the Homeland Return Bill in collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration and Ghana’s Mission in Washington D.C.
Source: Homeland Return Bill