Changes to Canadian Citizenship Act Will Strip Suspected Terrorists of Citizenship

The Conservative government has vowed to tighten the rules for Canadian citizenship applications, and promises to crack down on so-called “Canadians of convenience,” that involved with potential terrorist organizations.

The proposed changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act will improve the efficiency of the application process, and are aimed at ultimately strengthening the value of obtaining a Canadian citizenship.

When the new laws come into effect, permanent residents will have to maintain a physical presence, in Canada, for four out of six years, before they can apply for citizenship. This is compared to the previously required three out of four years.

Requirements for Canadian Citizenship Increased

Prospective applicants must also be physically present for 183 days each year, and must file Canadian income taxes for four of the six years before they are eligible to obtain citizenship.

The government has also expanded the age range for applicants needing to pass language and knowledge tests from 18 to 54 years old, to include applicants between the ages of 14 to 64 years old.

As eligibility requirements increase, the government has said that it will also speed up the processing times for applications. The proposed changes to the Citizenship Act will streamline the application process, and are aimed at addressing the current back-log.

Under the new legislation, citizenship can be revoked from dual nationals who are found to be members of armed forces, or other groups engaged in conflict with Canada. The legislation will also deny citizenship to permanent residents who are involved with terror organizations and associated activities.

The new provisions in the act raise several concerns regarding the treatment of new Canadian citizens, especially for those holding citizenships in recognized conflict-countries like Syria. The legislation will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Canadians who are wrongfully accused of terrorism, to return to Canada in order to clear their names.

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If you and your family are looking to immigrate to Canada, and need help applying for short-term work visas, or permanent residency, contact Edmonton Immigration Law’s team of experienced immigration lawyers. Our lawyers will leverage all available resources to assist you with your application.

Posted on February 25th, 2014