Minister Hussein spoke in Brampton, ON (broadcast via Facebook Live) this morning on the issue of upcoming changes to the Citizenship Act. Here is a summary of those changes:
1. Residency Requirement
At present, a Permanent Resident ("PR") is required to physically reside in Canada for 4 years out of the last 6 years, as well as physical presence for 6 months (183) days for four of those years.
The changes coming next week will change this requirement to physical residence for 3 years in the last 5.
2. Filing Income Taxes
The requirement to file taxes continues and must be demonstrated for the relevant 3 year period to correspond to the changes to the residency requirement.
3. Lawful physical presence as a Temporary Resident ("TR")
It used to be that time spent in Canada as a legal TR could be counted for 1/2 time towards citizenship residency. So, someone here on a work permit for 4 years prior to getting PR could have counted 1 year towards their citizenship time, thereby only requiring 2-years of physical presence post-PR to be eligible for citizenship.
The previous government did away with this requirement.
The changes coming into play next week will reinstate the rule allowing pre-PR lawful TR time to count towards citizenship residence, up to a maximum of 1 year.
4. Language/Knowledge test
The previous government broadened the age range of citizenship applicants who must write the language and knowledge test.
Next week's changes will return the range to what previously existed. As such, anyone between the ages of 18 and 54 must write the knowledge and language test to be granted citizenship.
These changes are not a surprise - they were made ages ago but have not come into force. They will come into force on October 11, 2017, which means all applicants thereafter will benefit from these changes.
If you believe you might now qualify for citizenship but aren't sure, or you have questions about this process, contact us and we will be glad to help you!