Amendments to the Canadian Citizenship Act will become law

Posted June 16, 2017 4:28 PM EDT
Updated June 19, 2017 at 3:32 p.m. EDT

Bill C-6, a law proposing changes that would make it easier for permanent residents to become Canadian citizens, is about to become law. Canadian Senator Mobina Jaffer posted on Twitter on June 15 that the bill could receive Royal Assent as early as next Monday.

Bill C-6 is now awaiting Royal Assent after the Senate passed the law on June 15 by a vote of 51 in favor and 29 against. The Senate previously passed the bill, with three amendments, on May 3. These amendments were considered by the government, after which the bill returned to the Senate and passed again with a stronger majority than in the previous vote.

Changes to citizenship eligibility requirements

Bill C-6 proposes various amendments to the Citizenship Act, many of which serve to repeal changes introduced by the Conservative government with Bill C-24 in 2014. This bill raised the requirement of residency for permanent residents to become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship for four years out of the six years preceding the application.

Bill C-6 reduces the number of days a person must have been physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship to three out of five years, as it was before the introduction of Bill C- 24. In addition, it allows permanent residents who have spent time in Canada before obtaining permanent resident status, for example as a temporary foreign worker or international student, to count part of this time towards the residency requirement. .

“We want newcomers to be able to build a successful life, and we know that for temporary workers, for international students who later become permanent residents, their connection to Canada begins long before they become permanent residents, without talking about Canadian citizens, then we agree that bringing the residency requirement down to three out of five years, as opposed to four out of six years under C-24, is the right thing to do,” Hussen explained.

Bill C-6 also removes the intention to reside provision, which requires an applicant to intend to reside in Canada after obtaining citizenship.

Another key provision of Bill C-6 is the removal of the government’s ability to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals on national security grounds, a feature the government has accused of creating two-tier citizenship. . “C-24 led us down the path of introducing two-tier citizenship, and we absolutely abhorred that and denounced that at the time, and we knew that Canada should never have two-tier citizenship “, said Hussen, at the recent meeting of the Canadian Bar. Association Conference (Immigration Section).

Find out if you are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship under the new law with the CanadaVisa Citizenship Calculator.

Senate Amendments

The first amendment concerned proposed changes to the age requirements for permanent residents to prove their knowledge of Canadian culture and English or French language ability, from the current requirement of 18 to 59, to 18 to 54. The Senate changed this proposal to 18 to 59, but the Liberal government did not support it.

Explaining the decision, Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Immigration Minister, said: “This amendment is not consistent with the intent of Bill C-6 to facilitate citizenship for eligible immigrants…Therefore, the Bill C-6 restores the age for language and knowledge requirements”. from 18 to 54 years old. In doing so, Bill C-6 will reduce barriers to citizenship.

The Senate proposed a second amendment to make it easier for children under 18 to apply for citizenship without the support of their parent and without needing to apply to the minister of citizenship on compassionate grounds. Under Bill C-6, children with Canadian permanent resident status under the age of 18 without Canadian parents, or whose parents may be unwilling or unable to apply for citizenship, could apply for citizenship. citizenship independently, without having to join a parent on an application.

Finally, the third amendment proposes to add the right of appeal for people who lose their nationality on the grounds that it was obtained fraudulently. The government also accepted this amendment, adding that “all persons would have the opportunity to request that their case be referred to the Federal Court for decision”.

Key Campaign Commitment

The changes enshrined in Bill C-6 were a key part of the Liberal government’s campaign when it came to power in November 2015. In his speech at the conference, Hussen said, “We want more residents permanent residents–in fact, we want all permanent residents, if possible–to become Canadians, and Bill C-6 will remove those barriers and give permanent residents greater flexibility in meeting residency requirements so that they can become Canadian citizens.

“I am proud that Bill C-6 will receive, we are confident that C-6 will receive Royal Assent in the very near future,” Hussen concluded.

“The Senate amendments were broadly laudable, and I’m pleased to see the government support these key changes that aim to make citizenship more accessible to more people,” said attorney David Cohen.

“The Liberal government continues to act on immigration and citizenship by taking concrete steps to turn election promises into real legislation. Should Bill C-6 receive Royal Assent, I look forward to seeing the difference it will make in the lives of many new Canadians.

For more information on applying for Canadian citizenship in light of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, please email [email protected] Please include information about your time as a Canadian permanent resident, as well as any information about time spent in Canada with temporary status.
To learn more about Canadian citizenship, Click here.
To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada through one of the programs currently available, please fill out a free online evaluation today.

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