Shorter residency requirement and new age requirements for language and knowledge tests to qualify for Canadian residency and migrants, who hold permanent residency status, will now also be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship if they have lived in the country for three out of the previous five years. These are a few of the changes that came into effect on 11 October.
Addressing the media last week, federal Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen said “We want all permanent residents in Canada to become citizens. That’s our wish, because we value Canadian citizenship, we understand we are a community that continues to welcome people from all over the world. And we understand the importance and the positive role that immigrants play in our economy, in our society, and in our cultural life.”
According to government data, 108,635 people applied for Canadian citizenship in the year ended on March 31. Historically, citizenship applications received have averaged closer to 200,000 a year.
PREVIOUS REGULATION (PR) vs NEW REGULATION (NR)
PR Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for citizenship.
NR Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship.
PR Applicants had to file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for four out of six years, matching the physical presence requirement.
NR Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, matching the new physical presence requirement.
PR Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of the six years preceding their application.
NR This provision is repealed. Applicants no longer have to meet this requirement.
PR Time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship.
NR Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.
PR Applicants between 14 and 64 years had to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.
NR Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.