After living 11 years in Iceland, Bala Kamallakharan was denied citizenship on the grounds that he received a speeding ticket. This is despite the fact that not only was the ticket issued and paid after his application was filed; the fine itself was below the maximum allowed in the citizenship requirements of the Directorate of Immigration (UTL).
Bala recounted his story on Facebook.
“As an immigrant, I am constantly reminded how difficult it is to be accepted into any community,” he writes. “Even more disappointing is the different standards that are set for immigrants. I have always known that I am going to be measured on a different scale on everything. It just became extremely obvious today. To all those immigrants and refugees out there, it is a difficult world for us… so lets keep calm and fight on to rise above the rest.”
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Bala says this ticket was issued after he had already applied, and clarified in the comments that his fine for speeding was 30,000 ISK. According to the citizenship requirements set by UTL, fines less than 50,000 ISK should not interfere with receiving citizenship.
As can be seen in the comments with Bala’s post, Icelanders have overwhelmingly expressed confusion and anger at the rejection. Whether this matter will be rectified remains to be seen, but his only recourse may be to appeal for citizenship to parliament directly.
Update, 12:58: MBL now reports that UTL has contacted Bala to let him know that his application for citizenship will be reviewed. Fingers crossed!
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