Clients have recently been asking about the “new” rules about citizenship. These changes have not fully passed Parliament yet and will take the better part of a year to implement. The confusion arises because the government website seems to accept some changes that are to be implemented (reducing the time of residency in Canada from 4 to 3 years) while still simultaneously requiring adherence to other changes that are to be eliminated such as the “intent to reside”.
As you may recall, the Conservatives had drastically altered the Citizenship rules by imposing stricter qualifications on applicants concerning time of residency and intention to live in Canada. The Liberals are reversing the process and the changes to the Act (which have now passed first reading in Parliament) will:
- Remove the grounds for the revocation of Canadian citizenship that relate to national security
- Remove the requirement that an applicant intend, if granted citizenship, to continue to reside in Canada
- Reduce the number of years (from 4 years to 3 years) during which a person must have been physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship and provide that, in the calculation of the length of physical presence, the number of days during which the person was physically present in Canada before becoming a permanent resident may be taken into account
- Limit the requirement to demonstrate knowledge of Canada and of one of its official languages to applicants between the ages of 18 and 54
- Authorize the Minister to seize any document that he or she has reasonable grounds to believe was fraudulently or improperly obtained or used or could be fraudulently or improperly used
I suggest keeping a close watch of the IRCC site to ensure that your application takes advantage of all the changes being implemented. See: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/cit/grant/index.asp