Changes being proposed for a new streamlined immigration system in Canada include prospective citizens being required to provide objective evidence of their language ability.
Applicants will need to demonstrate language ability by submitting a variety of evidence, including the results of approved third party tests, evidence of completion of secondary or post secondary education in English or French, or evidence of achieving the appropriate language level in certain government funded language training programmes.
‘The proposed change would encourage citizenship applicants to ensure that they can speak English or French when they apply. Language is an important component of the successful integration of immigrants and new citizens,’ said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturism minister Jason Kenney.
Adequate knowledge of English or French is a requirement for citizenship in Canada and has been a requirement since the first Citizenship Act of 1947. The government of Canada provides language training free of charge to permanent residents.
Kenney also said that a transformed immigration system will benefit the Canadian economy by making the system faster, more flexible and focused on jobs to promote national growth and prosperity that can benefit all regions.
Other proposed changes to the economic immigration system include eliminating the backlog of old Federal Skilled Worker applications and modernising how selection is done under that programme to better reflect the importance of younger immigrants with Canadian work experience and better language skills.
The plans also include creating a new Federal Skilled Trades programme and modifying the Canadian Experience Class to better facilitate the transition to permanent residence by successful skilled temporary workers.
Economic Action Plan 2012 also announced changes to CIC’s Business Immigration Programmes, which will target more active investment in Canadian growth companies and more innovative entrepreneurs.
Under proposed legislative amendments, CIC intends to introduce new small scale programmes on a temporary basis to try innovative approaches to economic immigration. Improvements to the existing Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) could be rolled out over a longer time frame, as any changes would require extensive consultations with provinces and territories, particularly the province of Quebec, which operates its own Investor programme under provisions in the Canada-Quebec Accord. Furthermore, adjustments to the current IIP would have to go through the regulatory process.
‘The changes I’ve announced are to ensure that immigrants who come to Canada can contribute to the economy quickly,’ explained Kenney.
‘And the cornerstone of success is being able to speak one of Canada’s official languages. That is why the government is also proposing changes to the citizenship rules so that new citizens have the language abilities they need to succeed,’ he added.