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Citizenship changes announced


On Oct. 11, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen announced several changes to the Canadian citizenship application process.

According to the Minister, the new requirements will make the path to family settlement easier and more flexible.

The announcement lists several promises made by the Liberals during the last election, including changes to the following:

  • The required time of physical presence in Canada has been reduced to three years out of the last five, instead of four years out of six.
  • Time spent in Canada before obtaining permanent residence will count at 50% toward residency requirements, giving credit to temporary workers and students.
  • Language and Canadian knowledge tests will now only be required for applicants 18 to 54 years old, instead of those 14 to 64.

In addition to the previously demanding qualification requirements, in 2014-15, the processing fee jumped to nearly triple what it was before. These changes led to a near 50% decrease in the overall number of Canadian citizenship applications received. Although fees are not scheduled for revision, it is expected that the relaxed rules will encourage more Canadian permanent residents to seek citizenship in the near future.

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