February 25, 2016 – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum introduced four significant changes to the Citizenship Act. The four key changes essentially make good on the Liberal’s campaign promise to repeal the Conservative changes made to the Citizenship Act in June of last year. The key points of the Bill: an Act to Amend the Citizenship Act are:
1. Repealing the provisions that allow citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens who engage in certain acts against the national interest.
2. Reducing the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada before qualifying for citizenship. Permanent residents will need to be in Canada three of five years instead of four of six years.
3. The time spent in Canada, as a temporary resident, prior to becoming a permanent resident, will be included in the three year physical presence calculation used to qualify for citizenship. Each day, within the five year period that a person is authorized to be in Canada as a temporary resident, before becoming a permanent resident, can be counted as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship to a maximum of one year.
4. The age range to meet the language requirement and pass a knowledge test to qualify for citizenship will be changed to 18 to 54 years instead of 14 to 64 years of age.
At this point, we do not have a firm time frame for when these changes will be implemented. If you would like more information about how amendments to the Citizenship Act might affect you, please contact Green and Spiegel.