“We want all permanent residents, if possible, to become Canadians,” said Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, at a recent conference in Toronto, and now the process will become quicker and simpler for immigrants to the country. Bill C-6 — which, among other changes, will decrease the amount of time new immigrants have to wait before becoming eligible to obtain Canadian citizenship — is scheduled to receive Royal Assent this evening (June 19), the final step before the bill may become law. (Note: Since this article was first published, C-6 has passed into law. Click here to learn more.)
Under the new law, immigrants will now have to accumulate 1,095 days, or three years, within a five-year period before being eligible for citizenship, instead of the 1,460 days required within six years under the previous act. This provision had been brought in by the previous Conservative government in June, 2014.
C-6 will also:
- Allow permanent residents who had spent time in Canada on temporary status, such as on a work or study permit, to count up to 365 days of this temporary status towards the residency requirement.
- Remove the ‘intent to reside’ provision, which previously required new citizens to state that they intended to reside in Canada.
- Eliminate the government’s ability to revoke citizenship from naturalized citizens who hold dual citizenship on national security grounds, which the now-governing Liberals had said created a two-tiered citizenship system when in opposition.
- Permit children under the age of 18 to apply for citizenship without the support or consent of their parents.
- Give individuals who lost their citizenship on the grounds that it was obtained fraudulently the right to appeal that decision in Federal Court.
Though C-6 is scheduled to receive Royal Assent on June 19, it remains to be seen when the government may bring into force certain clauses contained within the bill. These may be brought into force at a later date.
Citizens of Canada obtain all of the rights and responsibilities that come with this status, including political rights, such as the right to vote and stand for office, as well as residency rights, without the need to accumulate days of residency in Canada (a requirement for permanent residents who wish to retain that status). In addition, Canadian citizens may apply for a Canadian passport, one of the most valuable passports globally.
C-6 will finally be law
Having first been passed by the House of Commons 12 months ago, many immigrants and their families have been waiting patiently for C-6 to receive Royal Assent, the final step in a bill becoming law.
After passing through the House, the bill was read in the Senate, which passed amendments to the initial text and successfully put it to a vote. The House, which has a Liberal majority, accepted two of the three amendments, covering the juvenile eligibility provision and the appeal process mentioned above, after which the bill returned to the Senate and passed once again.
A third amendment initially passed in the Senate, which would have changed the age requirements for immigrants to prove language ability and knowledge of Canada, was not supported by the government, and will therefore not be included in the bill that will receive Royal Assent on June 19. Under the new law, applicants aged 18 to 54 will be required to prove language ability and knowledge of Canada.
The Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, is scheduled to grant Royal Assent to C-6, among other important bills, at 7 p.m. EST in the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The bill will therefore become law before Parliament’s summer break, which begins later this week.
A new law, a new calculator
With C-6 to become law on June 19, readers can find out if they are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship under the new law by completing the CanadaVisa Citizenship Calculator.
CICNews.com expects to publish a follow-up article on this subject when C-6 becomes law.
To find out more about applying for Canadian citizenship in light of the proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include information about your time as a Canadian permanent resident, as well as any information about previous time spend in Canada with temporary status.
To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada through one of the currently available programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.
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