Canada is making changes in Canadian Citizenship Act to repeal provisions which required immigrants to stay in the country longer before applying to become citizen, age limit for language proficiency requirements, stripping citizenship of dual nationals after conviction of terrorism. The changes are welcoming news for the Canadian immigrants. The proposed changes will eliminate the two tiered citizenship introduced by the previous government.
New proposed change in the Canadian Citizenship Act will allow new immigrants to apply for Canadian citizenship after residing in Canada for three years in five years period. Currently they must have physically lived in Canada for four years out of six years before qualify to apply. The requirement of minimum of 183 days physical presence in 4 of the last 6 years will also be removed from the Citizenship Act.
The age limit to provide proof of language proficiency will be once again changed to 19-54 years from current 14-54 years. The Immigration minister has said that it allows the older immigrants which do not have language proficiency to become Canadian citizen.
Dual nationals now can be stripped of their Canadian citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism and deported. This provision has created two tiered citizenship – citizens who are born in Canada and citizens who immigrated to Canada. New Liberal government is repealing this provision.
“We would make it impossible for the government to take away someone’s citizenship,” said Immigration Minister John McCallum, “and we would reduce the barriers currently in place that people have to overcome”.
The time lived in Canada as temporary resident may also be allowed to be counted towards the permanent residence requirements before becoming Canadian citizen in certain cases. Currently it is not allowed.
The time spend in Canada under conditional sentence will no longer be eligible for counting towards permanent residency requirements.
The Liberal government is in majority and the new proposed changes should become law in near future. It is a sign that Canada is welcoming new immigrants and help them become Canadians with ease.