Reforms to immigration and citizenship act in Canada passed

by Ray Clancy on June 24, 2014

Reforms to immigration and citizenship laws in Canada which will strengthen the rules around access to citizenship have been passed by the country’s parliament.

The changes aim to ensure that new citizens are better prepared for full participation and integration into Canadian society, with the goal of fostering in new Canadians a stronger attachment to Canadian values and traditions.


The changes aim to ensure that new citizens are better prepared for full participation in Canadian society

Key reforms include improving efficiency. Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander said that  reducing the decision making process from three steps to one will vastly reduce the average processing time for citizenship applications to under a year by 2015/2016. The current backlog will also be reduced by more than 80%.

Additionally, the government wants to ensure that citizenship applicants maintain strong ties to Canada. The amendments to the Citizenship Act also provide a clearer indication that the residence period to qualify for citizenship in fact requires physical presence in Canada.

More applicants will now be required to meet language requirements and pass a knowledge test to ensure that new citizens are better prepared to fully participate in Canadian society. New provisions will also help individuals with strong ties to Canada; for example, citizenship will be automatically extended to additional so-called ‘lost Canadians’ who were born before 1947, as well as to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.

The updated Citizenship Act includes stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation with a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or five years in prison and expands the grounds to bar an application for citizenship to include foreign criminality, which Alexander said will help improve the programme’s integrity.

He also pointed out that the amendments bring Canada in line with most of her peer countries by providing that citizenship can be revoked from dual nationals who are convicted of serious crimes such as terrorism, high treason and spying offences or who take up arms against Canada. Permanent residents who commit these acts will be barred from citizenship.

As a way of recognizing the important contributions of those who serve Canada in uniform, permanent residents who are members of the Canadian Armed Forces will have quicker access to Canadian citizenship. The Act also stipulates that children born to Canadian parents serving abroad as servants of the Crown are able to pass on Canadian citizenship to children they have or adopt outside Canada.

Citizenship applicants will need to be physically present in Canada for a total of four out of their last six years. In addition, they will need to be physically present in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years. These provisions will come into force in approximately one year.

Under the new streamlined decision making model, citizenship officers will preside over all aspects of a citizenship application. Under the old model, obtaining citizenship was a three-step process that involved duplication of work.

‘The government is proud to announce that the first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act in a generation have now become law. Moving forward, the value of citizenship will be reinforced and new citizens will be able to acquire citizenship more quickly,’ said Alexander.

‘The government has strengthened the rules around access to citizenship to ensure that they reflect its true value, and that new citizens are better prepared for full participation for life in Canada. Canadian citizenship is highly valued around the world and, with this balanced set of reforms, our government is ensuring that this remains so,’ he explained.

‘We expect new Canadians to take part in the democratic life, economic potential and the rich cultural traditions of Canada. The government remains committed to the successful integration of new citizens into our labour market and our communities, ensuring that they are better prepared to assume the responsibilities of citizenship, and fostering in new Canadians a strong attachment to Canada,’ he added.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jakir June 26, 2014 at 3:56 pm

How do your Visa?


jumman chakma July 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I am young, energetic, dynamic and self motivated professional. I am willing to face challenges, work hard and contribute in a technology driven environment for a successful career in any Front desk and marketing.


jumman chakma July 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I am really interested live in canada with my family.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: