76 percent pass rate in first examination set for applicants aspiring to be citizens of the Seychelles
Some of the applicants aspiring to be citizens of the Seychelles who took the exam at the Guy Morel Institute last week (Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Twenty one applicants aspiring to be citizens of the Seychelles islands who sat for an examination on the islands’ culture, history, constitution and politics, in the first such exercise in the islands last week, have obtained their results.
Sixteen have scored the required 80 percent or more while five others have failed, meaning a 76 percent pass rate.
The exams, part of new measures introduced following the amendment of the Seychelles’ Citizenship Act in November last year, have been prepared by the five-member Citizenship Eligibility Committee that has been appointed for a three year period to assess the suitability of, and appropriately recommend non-Seychellois applicants who want to become Seychelles
Confirming the results to SNA this morning, the Chairperson of the Committee, Charles Bastienne noted that that out of the sixteen who passed the exams, three scored 100 percent while the lowest score amongst the five who failed was 60 percent.
Speaking in a report aired by the national television, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) after the examination last week some of the applicants indicated that they had thought the exam would be more difficult but had found it easy.
According to Bastienne, the committee has observed a tendency whereby those who failed and those who obtained borderline passes failed to get the last questions right suggesting that they felt pressured to rush seeing others had completed the test.
“Next time, whoever sits for the citizenship exam needs to take their time to read the questions properly because the results shows that it may not have been that easy otherwise we would have had more people scoring 90 percent and above and even 100 percent,” said Bastienne adding that the applicants also need to do their research properly based on the pool of questions they are provided with as part of their preparations.
“The reason we gave two hours for the examination is because we took several things into consideration including language barrier, so it is important in the future for them to take their time and not feel pressured when they see that others have finished.”
In order to sit the exam papers which were made available in all three national languages, English, French and Creole, the candidates first had to fulfill the eligibility criteria to apply for citizenship, which includes 10 years of residency in the islands, or being married to a Seychellois for more than 10 years, while there are also special criteria for investors, students and persons who possess extraordinary abilities.
The sixteen candidates who have scored above 80 percent will now have to move to the next step as they seek to obtain Seychelles citizenship which will include being interviewed by the Citizenship Eligibility Committee, who will also consult other documents that the applicants have been asked to provide including their certificate proving that they have passed the exam, before the committee can make recommendations accordingly.
As for the 24 percent of the candidates who failed to pass the test, they are eligible to resit.
Bastienne says the next examination session is planned for the first week of August.
“Getting married to a Seychellois will not suffice”
The Seychelles’ Citizenship Act was introduced in November 2013 following an announcement by the country’s head of state in his State of the Nation Address in February 2013, that a new stricter law on immigration would be introduced.
In his address, Seychelles President James Michel stressed the need to protect the country’s unique heritage and by that Seychellois citizenship.
“Getting married to a Seychellois will not suffice. The duration of residence alone will not suffice. A foreigner who wishes to become a citizen of Seychelles needs to deserve Seychelles! The foreigner will need to know, understand and appreciate Seychelles, its constitution, its people, its history, its culture, aspirations and heritage! The person will need to be loyal and sincere to Seychelles,” said Michel in 2013.
The new regulations also make provisions for a system of permanent residency permits for foreigners who contributed to the country’s development but do not qualify for citizenship.
“They will not enjoy the same rights as Seychellois. They will not, for example, benefit from social security and pension. They will not vote. But they will have the right to reside here, work, invest and engage in business activities that are not reserved for Seychellois,” said Michel.
The Seychelles islands has a population of 90,000 people, who are a Creole nation made up of descendants of French, British, African, Indian and Chinese settlers. The islands were uninhabited prior to their discovery, the first recorded discovery is thought to be in 1502 by Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama.