The new citizenship Bill C-24 introduced by Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander was fully enforced in June 11, 2015. These changes, according to Chris Alexander would remind individuals that citizenship is not a right but a privilege.
It seems that with the changes in the citizenship law, it will be harder to get and keep Canadian citizenship. In the old system, once you become a Canadian citizen you are secured, your citizenship cannot be revoked. With the new changes, there’s a possibility that one’s citizenship may be taken away, in addition to this, requirements for citizenship application process has also changed.
What are these changes? Let us try to enumerate the difference between the old system and the new rules that is in force since June 11, 2015.
BEFORE: Once a citizenship is granted, it is secured and permanent (unless it was obtained by fraud.)
NOW: Citizenship can be cancelled for reasons other than fraud, citizenship of Canadians who are found guilty of terrorism or treason cases may be revoked through the decision of a citizenship officer and there will be no opportunity for a live hearing or an appeal.
BEFORE: Once you are granted with Canada citizenship, regardless if you have dual citizenship or the possibility of having dual citizenship, you are treated as Canadian with the same class from those Canadian-born citizens.
NOW: Citizens are divided into 2 classes: First-class Canadians with no other citizenship or the possibility of obtaining another one and second-class Canadians who are born outside Canada (naturalized citizens) and have dual citizenship or the possibility of obtaining dual citizenship.
BEFORE: There’s NO classification of second-class citizen that post risks of losing their citizenship.
NOW: A second-class citizen who is believed not to have intentions of living in Canada or if they decide to move to another country to study or to work may lose his citizenship. Furthermore, second-class citizens may also lose their Canadian citizenship for crimes committed abroad.
The new law also defines changes in the requirements for citizenship application and process, these changes will adversely affect the new immigrants of Canada.
BEFORE: You must reside in Canada for three (3) out of four years (1,095 days). And the time that you have lived in Canada as non-permanent resident (non-PR) may be counted toward residence of citizenship.
NOW: You must be physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for four (4) years (1,460 days) out of six (6) years immediately before the date of your application and you must also be physically present for at least 183 days during each of 4 calendar years but this doesn’t apply to children under 18. Furthermore, you cannot include in the calculation of the time you lived in Canada, the time you spent in Canada as non- permanent resident.
BEFORE: If you are 18 to 54 years of age, you must meet the language requirements and must pass the knowledge test when you apply. You may be able to have an interpreter in your own language to help you prove your knowledge of Canada.
NOW: If you are 14 to 64 years old, show language ability in English or French you are required to pass the knowledge test to prove your knowledge of Canada.
BEFORE: There’s no requirement to file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for grant for citizenship.
AFTER: To be eligible for citizenship, adult applicants must meet their personal income taxes obligations in four taxation years within the 6 years immediately before that date you apply.
As for the fees, in the past 11 months, the price for processing citizenship documents has changed. In January 2015, it has been set at $530 from the formerly new price set in February 2014 of $300 (from $100). In addition to this, each adult applicant must also pay $100 Right of Citizenship Fee, for a total of $630 for each adult applicant.
If you are a permanent resident who will soon submit your application for citizenship, I strongly recommend that you consult the CIC website for detailed instructions.
Changes to the Citizenship Act. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
Application for Canadian citizenship under subsection 5(1) – Adults 18 years of age and older (CIT 0002). Retrieved June 11, 2015
Determine your eligibility – Citizenship. Retrieved June 12, 2015.