Trudeau Government Overhauls Conservatives’ “Regressive” Citizenship Changes

Desibuzzbc-Banner-Metrics-FinalNew Citizenship Rules Take Effect This Wednesday, October 11!

Justin TrudeauFurther to changes introduced upon Royal Assent which repealed certain provisions of the former Conservative government’s Bill C-24, important changes to physical presence and the age required to meet language and knowledge requirements for permanent residents who are applying for citizenship will come into effect on October 11. There has been a significant drop in the number of immigrants applying to become Canadian citizens after a sharp fee increase three years ago, reported CBC News. In the first nine months of 2016, there were 56,446 applications filed for citizenship, a decrease of nearly 50 per cent from the same period a year earlier, when 111,993 applications were submitted. The processing fee jumped to $530 from $100 in 2014-15, a tripling of the previous cost when the additional $100 "right of citizenship" fee is added in.

By R. Paul Dhillon – DESIBUZZCanada Editor-Founder

OTTAWA – PM Justin Trudeau's government is overhauling the regressive Citizenship rules brought in by the previous Conservative government by making it easier to become a Canadian citizen.

As part of Trudeau's election commitment to provide greater flexibility in meeting requirements for those who wish to obtain Canadian citizenship, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen announced this week a significant milestone in implementing changes to the Citizenship Act through the adoption of Bill C-6.

PM-Trudeau-apologies3“One of the strongest pillars for successful integration into Canadian life is achieving Canadian citizenship and becoming part of the Canadian family. The Government encourages all immigrants to take the path towards citizenship and take advantage of everything that being a Canadian has to offer," said Hussen.

Further to changes introduced upon Royal Assent which repealed certain provisions of the former Conservative government’s Bill C-24, important changes to physical presence and the age required to meet language and knowledge requirements for permanent residents who are applying for citizenship will come into effect on October 11.

The new requirements will give more flexibility to both younger and older eligible immigrants to obtain citizenship. They will also help individuals who have already begun building lives in Canada achieve citizenship faster.

Citizenship applicants who meet the new requirements must wait until October 11 before applying for citizenship. This is the date when the changes come into effect, and when the new citizenship application forms and guides will be available.

More changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to take effect later this year and in early 2018. For a complete list of past, current and future changes to the Citizenship Act and their effective dates, please read the Bill C-6 Backgrounder.

The new rules include:

The required duration of a physical presence in Canada is reduced to three out of five years, from four out of six years.

A portion of time spent in Canada before permanent resident status will count toward residency requirements, which will give credit to temporary workers and students.

The age range for language and knowledge requirements is reduced to 18 to 54 years old, from the previous requirement of 14 to 64.

Highlights:

•             Bill C-6, an Act to amend the Citizenship Act and make consequential amendments to another Act, received Royal Assent on June 19, 2017.

•             The latest set of amendments to the Act taking effect October 11, 2017, will also include aligning the number of years applicants need to file Canadian income taxes (if required to do so under the Income Tax Act) to three out of five years, to match the changes to the physical presence requirements.

•             Some changes to the Citizenship Act took effect immediately upon Royal Assent on June 19, 2017. They include: repealing of the ability to revoke citizenship from dual citizens convicted of crimes against the national interest; no longer requiring applicants to intend to continue to reside in Canada once granted citizenship; and making it easier for minors to apply for citizenship without a Canadian or permanent resident parent.

•             More changes expected to take place later in 2017 and 2018 include strengthening the citizenship revocation process so that the Federal Court is the decision-maker on most cases, and giving clear authority under the Citizenship Act for citizenship officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents.

There has been a significant drop in the number of immigrants applying to become Canadian citizens after a sharp fee increase three years ago, reported CBC News.

In the first nine months of 2016, there were 56,446 applications filed for citizenship, a decrease of nearly 50 per cent from the same period a year earlier, when 111,993 applications were submitted.

The processing fee jumped to $530 from $100 in 2014-15, a tripling of the previous cost when the additional $100 "right of citizenship" fee is added in.

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