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Image Credit: Bloomberg

Jakarta: Indonesia may offer dual citizenship to people of Indonesian descent to entice more skilled workers into the country, a senior cabinet minister said on Tuesday.

Indonesia does not recognise dual citizenship for adults, according to Indonesian law, as a child with two passports must choose one and renounce the other when they turn 18.

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Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, said the government plans to give dual citizenship to former Indonesian citizens living overseas, without offering details.

Luhut was speaking ahead of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who pledged a $1.7 billion investment in Indonesia.

The country seeks to have nearly 3,000 youths ready to work as developers by 2029 and an artificial intelligence center in Bali, he said at the briefing attended by Microsoft's chief executive officer Satya Nadella.

"We also invite diaspora Indonesia and we give them also, soon, dual citizen," he said. "Which I think will ... bring very skilful Indonesians back to Indonesia." Nearly 4,000 Indonesians became Singaporean citizens between 2019 to 2022, according to data from the Directorate General of Immigration.

The immigration agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the plans to allow for dual citizenship.

Indonesia's law currently prohibits dual citizenship, even as it grapples with an outflow of talent seeking better employment prospects abroad. As many as 1,000 Indonesian students aged between 25 and 35 have decided to become Singaporean citizens each year, said the country's director of immigration.

The issue of dual citizenship caused some controversy in 2016 when Indonesia's President Joko Widodo removed Arcandra Tahar as energy and mining minister after less than a month on the job following reports he held US and Indonesian passports.