201601.02
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Major Changes to the Citizenship Act

Beginning January 1st, 2015, the application fee to apply for citizenship will increase to $530 for each adult applicant.  Many other changes beyond application fees are being introduced that will have more significant impact on the nature of Canadian citizenship.

In the coming days, we shall post blogs in regard to the major changes that have been made in Canada’s Citizenship law, discuss what we believe the effects of these changes will be. To begin, we will outline some of the changes to be made.  When the law comes into force, to become a Citizen, a Permanent Resident will have to:

  • be physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 ( 4 years) days during the six years immediately before the date of the application ( the current requirement is 3 out of 4 years);
  • the applicant must be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days during each of four calendar years within this six years (this bring us back to the residency requirements of the pre 2002 Immigration Act);
  • Must file a return of income in respect to the four taxation years within the six years; (logically proof of this will have to filed with the application);
  • MUST intend to reside in Canada once he obtained citizenship ( this in our view is a section that is highly problematic and our next blog will deal with it in great detail);
  • The age for which language and knowledge testing will be required will be raised to 65    (meaning that you will be expected to meet the language and knowledge requirements until that age);
  • It should also be noted that the language requirements will have to be met on the date of the application, and not when they call you in, it is our understanding that they will require applicants to submit test results (CELPIP-G, IELTS or TEF with the application);
  • ENFORCMENT will be a major focus.
  • Grounds for the denial of citizenship for “reasons of national security” will be expanded ( it should be understood that one does not need to have a criminal record to be excluded for “reasons of national security”);
  • Revocation of Citizenship process will be streamlined (we expect that revocations will go up – meaning that they will go after individuals to revoke their citizenship- including we believe due to alleged contravention of the “ intent to reside” provision;

All of the above, we believe will have major impact on applicants and will be discussed in greater detail in our future blogs.

There are also;

-New provisions to address various classes of people who have been left without citizenships due to previous changes in the law.

– Greater ability to share information with other departments (this will facilitate greater and wider investigations of the applications for fraud, misrepresentation etc).

-“allowance for alternative proofs of citizenship including establishing citizenship by electronic means “ .