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Vital Changes Expected in the Citizenship Act of Canada

October 2017, 06
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Permanent residents of Canada will soon have a quick and simple process, for citizenship naturalization, when new measures in Bill C-6, (Changes to the Citizenship Act), take effect on October 11th.

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Canada stated that these were long awaited by PRs. C-6 was passed into law, in June 2017, but a few important provisions were not put into effect urgently. 

He added that there was a case that PRs of the country, became citizens. Their Canadian citizenship is much valued, and the country continues to welcome people from all parts of the world. The immigrants play an important and positive role, in the economy, as well as in the society, and in the cultural life. He was aware of his responsibility, to make the path to Canadian citizenship easy.

The changes envisaged from October 11th, cover the number of days required to be spent, as a PR by an applicant, before applying for citizenship, and the manner of counting of these days. 

The applicants are now only required to spend 1,095 days of residence, over a 5 year period, before attaining eligibility. 

Further, people who worked or studied in the country, before becoming a PR, can count 365 days of this time, as a Temporary Resident, as a part of the residency days. In these cases, each day spent, in a temporary status, is counted as a half-day towards eligibility for citizenship. 

For quite a few individuals, who visit the country to work/study, this change directly reduces the time, they have to spend as a permanent resident, before attaining eligibility for citizenship.

Moreover, they will not be required to be physically present, in Canada for 183 days, in a four out of the six years period, prior to sending the application.

This is being done, to facilitate permanent residents, to apply for citizenship sooner, and have a greater flexibility in doing it.

Previously, the Applicants had to file income taxes, for four out of six years, aligning with the physical presence requirement.    Now they can file income taxes, only for three out of five years, aligning with the physical presence requirement.

The age of Applicants, to meet the language and knowledge requirements, previously was between 14 and 64 years, but now it will be between 18 and 54 years.

Earlier in June 2017, some provisions of C-6 were enforced. They were the repeal of provision, where applicants were required to continue to live in Canada, on granting citizenship. 

Additionally, dual citizens, living in Canada, when convicted of treason, terrorism, or spying offenses, will now face the justice system, like all other fellow citizens. Previously their citizenship was revoked.

Canadian citizenship brings the benefits of applying for and obtaining the Canadian passport, which is a valued passport globally. Another benefit is that they are free to leave and re-enter Canada, without minding the requirements of residency for maintaining the status. They can vote, stand for political office, and participate in a great democracy.

With these broad measures, the dream of attaining Canadian citizenship becomes easy. A point to note is everyone who becomes a naturalized citizen, has to necessarily be a permanent resident first.

Today, Canada offers immigration programs, helping the individuals/families to obtain PR Status, which include the federal economic immigration programs, supervised under the Express Entry system. There are Provincial Nominee Programs, Quebec program, options for businessmen, and for sponsoring family members, and, the revolutionary refugee resettlement. Through them, Canada aims to bring countless people annually. Several of them will become full-fledged citizens and thrive here.

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