There has been a lot of talk about Citizenship Act during last two year. Lots of reforms and changes were gradually announced but those long-awaited changes to Canada’s citizenship laws will finally come into effect this week by Thursday, June 11. The reforms result from a bill of law passed by the Canadian Parliament last year.
As mentioned on there press release.
Among the many benefits of the government’s citizenship reforms, the new provisions will deter citizens of convenience – those who become citizens for the sake of having a Canadian passport to return to Canada to access taxpayer-funded benefits that come with citizenship status, without having any attachment to Canada, or contributing to the economy.
Key changes include (in force June 11, 2015):
Click here for our detailed post on the set of changes as a result of Bil-c24
- Adult applicants must now be physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (four years) during the six years before the date of their application, and they must be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days in each of four calendar years within the qualifying period. This is aimed at ensuring that citizenship applicants develop a strong attachment to Canada.
- Applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must meet basic knowledge and language requirements. This is aimed at ensuring that more new citizens are better prepared for life in Canada.
- Citizenship will be automatically extended to additional “Lost Canadians” on June 11th, who were born before 1947, and did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 when the first Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect. This will also apply to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.
- Adult applicants must declare their intent to reside in Canada once they become citizens and meet their personal income tax obligations in order to be eligible for citizenship.
- To help improve program integrity, there are now stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (to a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison). This is aimed at deterring unscrupulous applicants who are prepared to misrepresent themselves, or advise others to do so.
- The newly-designated Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is the new regulatory body for citizenship consultants. Only members of the ICCRC, lawyers or notaries (including paralegals and students at law) can be paid to provide citizenship applicants with representation or advice.
- New application forms, aligned with the new rules for eligibility, will be available on the CIC website as of June 11, 2015. Any applications received using the old forms received after June 10, 2015 will be returned to the applicant.
“Our reforms ensure new citizens are better prepared for full participation in Canada’s economy and Canadian society. This is a win for newcomers, and a win for Canada in terms of making the most of the opportunities that our fair and generous immigration system provides.” Says Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister
“We are eliminating long backlogs, and streamlining our own processes. At the same time, we are ensuring Canadian citizenship is highly valued and stays that way. Promise made, promise kept when it comes to strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship.” Says Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister
Link to the Press Release.