The federal government kept a surprise for thousands of permanent residents seeking to become Canadian citizens.
The Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, confirmed that several of the articles of the Reform to the Citizenship Act will enter into force next week, just to celebrate Canadian citizenship Week.
On 11 October, several of the elements that the Liberal government introduced into the so-called C6 Act will come into effect immediately from that date.
“We want all permanent residents to become Canadian citizens, that is our goal,” said Minister Hussen during an event in Brampton, Ontario.
We understand the positive role of immigrants in our society, our economy and our social life.
What will change?
The Canadian Minister of Immigration explained the points that will change in the process of applying for Canadian citizenship starting next October 11th:
- The time of residency: from that date the requirement will be three years of residence in a five-year period. The old Conservative government had increased it to four years in a six-year period.
- Tax returns: The Liberal government maintains the obligation to file tax returns in Canada, only that it is aligning it with the new time requirements. This means that the applicant shall submit his three-year tax returns in the period of five in which he has been a resident of the country.
- Continued permanence: Also on that date the requirement to spend 183 days in the country is eliminated for each year of residence. This means that an immigrant can leave Canada for up to two consecutive years and then return to be three full years and still get the citizenship.
- Time as a temporary resident: this October 11th will also enter into force the change that allows temporary residents to add days of their stay to the total days required to apply for Canadian citizenship. Each day a person passes in the country as a foreign student or temporary worker will count as a half day in the summation. At most, 365 days will be added in this way.
- Language requirement: The New age range in which the knowledge of English or French should be demonstrated in order to obtain citizenship will also enter into force. The Conservatives had increased it to between 14 and 64 years. With the new change, only people between 18 and 54 years will have to demonstrate their knowledge of at least one of the official languages of Canada.
The remainder of the changes in the Citizenship Act will enter into force in the coming months or in the year 2018, as confirmed by the Ministry of Immigration.