Ottawa tightens rule on awarding Citizenship

In a recent development, Conservatives have made things difficult for the would be Canadians toughening the rules than before. The route to citizenship is likely to pose more challenges than it used to be.

The changes introduced
• The applicants will have to stay in Canada for four out of six years whereas they had to stay for three before.
• Every year a permanent resident will need to spend at least 183 days for four years before they apply for citizenship.
• Permanent residents need to Income tax files as per Canadian guidelines.
• The proficiency at French or English, the official language, has to be more than it used to be before.
• An applicant in the age range of 14 to 64 has to appear for language proficiency test. Earlier, those in the age range of 18-54 were supposed to appear for one such test.
• Even simplest of application cases would take more than two years to get processed and the little complex ones would take even longer. With the new rules in place an application is likely to get processed within a year which is half the time required than the past.
• There is a proposal to shift power to the Immigration Minister from the courts regarding revoking citizenship.
• The processing fee also has been tripled to the amount of $300.
• A prospective citizen will have to submit an official declaration regarding his intention of staying in the country.
• A major benefit would be given to permanent residents who are members of Canadian Armed Forces because their applications would be tracked at a faster rate than the rest of them.

The possible causative agents
The Government supposedly has taken such a decision after looking at the cases of fraud and strip citizenship. There are individuals who are dual nationals and they take undue advantage of citizenship awarded to them by getting involved into illegal acts like terrorism.

The aim is to strengthen the process and make it more efficient.

Citizenship and immigration Minister Chris Alexander informs that the rate of application would go up in spite of strict measures in place.

He adds, “Our Government expects new Canadians to take part in the democratic life and rich traditions.”

The effect of the changes
With the changes introduced the backlog of more than 300,000 applications is likely to get cut as the processing time would not be as long as 36 months. In another year or two the Government aims at processing a successful application within a year.

Government has come across cases when a citizen I a dual national and gets into a serious crime. Looking at the fraud cases, Ottawa proposes that changes so that criminals can be stripped off and can be barred from obtaining a precious and prestigious citizenship of a country like Canada. The changes though introduced almost after four decades would likely exert more control on the process and will choose pick the right kind of people for becoming an integral part of the nation.