Wait period for Canadian citizenship reduced

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen (centre).

The Canadian Bazaar

BRAMPTON: Permanent residents now need stay in Canada for only three out of the last five years to apply for citizenship. This change kicked in from October 11.

Till now permanent residents were required to be in Canada for four out of the last six to be eligible for citizenship.

This is one of the many major changes introduced cin itizenship rules by the Liberal government.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced here on October 4 said the new rules will make it easier for newcomers to apply for Canadian citizenship.

“One of the strongest pillars for successful integration into Canadian life is achieving Canadian citizenship and becoming part of the Canadian family. The Government encourages all immigrants to take the path towards citizenship and take advantage of everything that being a Canadian has to offer,’’ the immigration minister said.

Another welcome change under the new rules is that permanent residents will now not be required to be present in Canada for 183 days each year. They can now go out of the country for study or work or family reasons and their citizenship eligibility will not to be impacted.

Currently, the time spent by foreigners in Canada while studying or working or visiting or as refugees is not counted for citizenship.  But now half the time spent by foreigners in Canada up to a maximum of one year will be counted towards citizenship. People can now apply for citizenship in two years after becoming permanent residents. Previously, they had to wait for three years.

Now, only newcomers in the age group of 18 to 54 will be required pass a citizenship knowledge and language test. Previously, all those in the age group of 14 to 64 were required to pass this test.

More changes will be implemented later this and next year.

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