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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

Changes to Canadian Citizenship

Changes to Canadian Citizenship

Canadian Citizenship Changes

Has it always been your desire to finally become a Canadian citizen after so many years of being a permanent resident? This can finally be possible with the Canadian citizenship application and the new changes that have been introduced as of this year. To become a Canadian citizen is not an easy process but hopefully with the new Bill C-6, the process can become easier for individuals applying for Canadian citizenship. Like any other legislation in Canada, some changes will come into effect immediately and others will most likely come into effect in early 2018. In this article, I will explain what specific changes are being introduced and how this will affect Canadian citizenship applications going forward.

What is Bill C-6?

This bill is an act amending Canada’s Citizenship Act. These amendments to the Act have finally received Royal Assent and are now law. This bill is extremely beneficial to many immigrants to Canada and their families as under the new legislation, permanent residents can now apply for citizenship a lot sooner than before. Additionally, this bill is also intended to enhance program integrity and retract certain provisions of the Act that had treated dual citizens differently than other Canadian citizens. There are many more revisions that have been made to the bill, which I will address below.

Canadian Citizenship Changes as of June 19, 2017

  • In the previous act, for any dual citizen that is convicted of treason, spying, and terrorism offences or who was a part of an armed force of a country or an organized group engaged in conflict with Canada, their citizenship would be revoked. However, in the new act, this provision has become repealed. Now, dual citizens who commit these crimes will face the consequences of the Canadian justice system, just like any other Canadian citizen who commits these crimes.
  • In the previous act, for any applicants that gained Canadian citizenship, they were required to intend on living in Canada even after their citizenship had been granted. However, in the new act, this provision has become repealed. Now, applicants are no longer required to intend on living in Canada once they are granted their Canadian citizenship. This allows Canadian citizens more flexibility to travel and live outside of Canada, of course considering their specific circumstances, such as work or personal reasons.
  • In the previous act, it stated that the Minister had the ultimate discretion to waive certain requirements, specifically under subsection 5 (1) of the Citizenship Act so that a minor may obtain citizenship without a Canadian parent. However, in the new act, minors can now apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent. Now, the age requirement for citizenship has been removed under subsection 5 (1). Therefore, a person who has custody of the minor or is empowered to act on their behalf by court order, written agreement or by operation of law, is now able to apply for citizenship on their behalf, unless the requirement is ultimately waived by the Minister.
  • In the previous act, there was no provision that prevented individuals serving a sentence in the community (a conditional sentence order) from being granted citizenship. This includes taking the Oath of Citizenship or applying this time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship. However, in the new act, individuals who are serving a conditional sentence will not be permitted citizenship, to take the Oath of Citizenship, or to be able to count the time spent towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship.
  • In the previous act, it is stated that the Minister had the ultimate discretion to grant citizenship to an individual to relieve cases of unusual and/or special hardship, or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada. However, in the new act, individuals who are stateless have now been added as a stand-alone ground that can now be considered for a discretionary grant of citizenship. This new revision can ultimately benefit many people who are going through hardships.
  • In the previous act, it is stated that the Department has reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of citizenship applicants. Though, there was no definitive reference to accommodate persons with disabilities in the Citizenship Act. However, in the new act, there is now a requirement to take into consideration reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of an applicant applying for Canadian citizenship, who is also a disabled person. This has been permanently changed in the Citizenship Act.
  • In the previous act, there was a requirement for applicants to maintain the conditions of Canadian citizenship from the time they apply until they take the Oath of Citizenship, which only applied to applications received on or after June 11, 2015. However, in the new act, the requirement now applies to all applicants, including those received before June 11, 2015. This allows for consistency within the applications for Canadian citizenship.

Canadian Citizenship Changes for Fall of 2017 and Early 2018

There are many more changes that will be happening later on in the year and in early 2018. Such changes include revisions to the time spent within Canada before applying for Canadian citizenship, revisions to the required years of filing Income Taxes that match the physical presence requirements, revisions to the time spent prior to becoming a permanent resident counting towards citizenship, and more. These changes have invoked a positive response from Immigrants residing in Canada who are trying to become Canadian citizenships. Bill C-6 has made it easier for Canadians at heart to truly become Canadian citizens and has repealed the two-tiered citizenship.

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you wish to become a Canadian citizen after having permanent residency, we can help you with this process. Canadian citizenship applications are not an easy process, but have now become easier with the help of Bill C-6. Nevertheless, any Immigration application can become overwhelming if done alone; therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit an application. Here at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients gain Canadian citizenship. If you believe that you might be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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