Canada has made it easier for immigrants to obtain Canadian Citizenship.
Under changes to the Citizenship Act through adoption of Bill C-6, the time required to be physically present in Canada before applying to become a citizen has been reduced.
An applicant must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship.
Under the repealed Act Bill-24, applicants had to be physically present in Canada for four out of six years.
Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced today in Brampton that the decision to review the Citizenship Act was aimed at removing the hurdles placed on immigrants by the previous act.
The previous provision stated that applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of the six years preceding their application.
Bill C-6 has repealed this provision, as applicants no longer have to meet this requirement.
The changes also apply to income taxes. Applicants must file Canada income taxes, if required to do so under Income Tax Act, for three out of five years matching the new physical presence requirement.
The abolished law stipulated that applicants had to file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act for four out of six years, matching the physical presence requirement.
The Citizenship Act also deals with the issue of time spent in Canada. Applicants may count each day they were physically in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person, before becoming a permanent, as a half day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365ndays, within five years preceding the date of application. Under the previous act, time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship.
Minister Hussen noted that temporary workers and protected persons in particular would benefit from this section.
The Citizenship Act addresses the language requirement. Now applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. The minister noted that children under 18 years had to pass their school exams and also pass the citizenship exam at the same time adding that the process placed undue burden on the young ones.
Previously applicants between 14 and 64 years had to meet the language and knowledge requirement for citizenship.
Minister Hussen noted that the changes would benefit immigrants coming to Canada as skilled workers, refugees, caregivers and international students.
The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship noted that the abolished act had prolonged the process for becoming a citizen and put a lot of undue burden on those who want to join the Canadian family.
The changes will take effect on October 11 2017.