Citizenship and the Indonesian Diaspora: Lessons from the South Korean and Indian Experiences

Susi Dwi Harijanti, Bilal Dewansyah, Ali Abdurahman, Wicaksana Dramanda


The existence and movement of diasporas across the world significantly challenge the existing legal norms on citizenship and migration. The responses from law-makers from the origin countries vary. Most European, Latin America and African countries adopt dual citizenship laws. However, most countries in Asia-Pacific region, including Indonesia, do not favour dual citizenship. This is mostly because of the ideological perception of citizenship. In this sense, many countries grant special status or schemes to their diaspora (neither citizens nor residents of the country) in the form of an external quasi-citizenship based on ethnic descent, called “ethnizenship” by Bauböck.This article, drawing on on-going research, compares the Indonesian experience with that of two other countries that have adopted quasi-citizenship schemes. India and South Korea have been chosen for comparison since both countries have particular statutes that recognise and regulate diaspora status. India created the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card scheme in 1998 and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card scheme in 2003. These two schemes merged in 2015 into the Overseas Citizens of India Card Holder (OCC) scheme through the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2015. While India adopts a regulatory model of diaspora through a citizenship law regime, the South Korean experience showsa different attitude towards their diaspora. The Korean Government has refused the Korean diaspora’s proposal for dual citizenship and created a semi-citizenship called “Overseas Korean” status through immigration law. This article discusses the Indian and South Korean experiences dealing with their diaspora in order to propose a regulatory model for Indonesia’s diaspora.


Indonesia; South Korea; India; dual citizenship; diasporas; quasicitizenship

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