The Canadian federal government made some big changes take took effect on Oct. 11, 2017. The changes come from Bill C-6, an act designed to give more flexibility to those trying to obtain citizenship in Canada.
Here’s a list of some of the latest changes:
|Before Oct. 11, 2017||After Oct. 11, 2017|
|Citizenship applicants had to show they were in Canada for a minimum of 183 days for each year over the course of a four-year period, out of a total six year period.||Now, you must only be in Canada for 1095 days (three years' time) total over a period of five years, with no restriction on when those days are completed.|
|Had to file Canadian income taxes to prove your presence over the four out of six years.||Income taxes must be filed for only the period covering the 1095 days.|
|Any time spent in Canada before gaining permanent residency did not count towards the requirement for citizenship||Days spent in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person can be counted as a half-day for the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to 365 days' credit.|
|Any applicant between 14 and 64 years' of age had to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.||Only those between 18 and 54 must meet those same requirements now.|
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
These changes are a big step in making it easier to immigrate to Canada and may directly affect you. After Oct. 11, 2017, many residents in Canada may find that they have already qualified minimum residency requirements that they would not have qualified for in the past.
For example, before Oct. 11, if you had spent three full years in Canada while a permanent resident, but then left to visit relatives in another country for two years, you would not qualify for citizenship. Now, a person in this scenario will suddenly find that they do in fact qualify.
Some residents may have also had trouble with the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship, particularly minors between the age of 14 to 17 and adults between the age of 55 and 64.
These age groups are now completely exempt from the language and knowledge requirements. So if that’s the area that previously prevented you from obtaining citizenship, now is the time to try again.
If you believe you could be affected by these new changes to Canada’s immigration laws, give us a call.
An experienced immigration lawyer will be more than happy to explain the process to you, and identify whether you now qualify for Canadian citizenship.