Minister John McCallum announces legislation to amend the Citizenship Act

Minister John McCallum announces legislation to amend the Citizenship Act

Benedicto Co, an employee, said upon learning the action to be done by the Liberal government, “This is a good news for those friends of mine who want to become Canadian citizens. They told me that there are many restrictions which are difficult to comply with. Being a Canadian citizen has many benefits.”

One of the newly arrived permanent residents, Ed Labagala, made a comment upon reading the news: “This new Citizenship Act to be amended by the Liberal government, specifically, the abolition of the “2nd Class Citizenship Law” creates a positive effect on us. We would feel that we really belong…” When Cora Llorico, who arrived in 2013, was asked her comment, she said: “I am in favour of the proposed amendments of the new Citizenship Act. My family needs not to wait two more years to become a Canadian citizen. We won’t be a second class citizen anymore hence the feeling of being discriminated as obliterated. And I do hope that the application fee will decrease.”

Trudy Buena, a 57 year old senior, is a happy that she will be exempted as the age range for language and knowledge requirements are to be amended to the previous 18-54 age requirements.”Mahirap daw ang mga tanong sa interview, at pwede kang bumagsak, then bayad uli!”

The friends of Benedicto Co, the newly arrived permanent residents Ed Labagala and Cora Llorico; and a senior citizen, Trudy Buena are all excited to become Canadian citizens when Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum recently introduced legislation to amend the Citizenship Act, providing greater flexibility for applicants to trying to meet the requirements for citizenship and help immigrants obtain citizenship faster.

“The Government is keeping its commitment to repeal certain provisions of the Citizenship Act, including those that led to different treatment for dual citizens. Canadian citizens are equal under the law.Whether they were born in Canada or were naturalized in Canada or hold a dual citizenship,” said Minister McCallum.

Among the changes, the Bill: An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, would repeal provisions that allow citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens who engage in certain acts against the national interest. All Canadians who commit crimes should face the consequences of their actions through the Canadian justice system.

The Bill also proposes to reduce the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada before qualifying for citizenship by a full year.

Recognizing that immigrants often build an attachment to Canada before becoming permanent residents, the proposed legislation would credit applicants for the time spent in Canada as temporary residents or protected persons.

The age range to meet French or English language requirements and pass a knowledge test to qualify for citizenship, would change to 18-54 from 12-64. The changes support our goal of removing barriers for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada.

Some of the proposed changes of the Citizenship Act include: 1) Repealing the intent to reside provision that raised would be-citizen’s fear that their citizenship could be revoked in the future if they moved outside of Canada.In the proposed legislation, all Canadians are free to move outside of Canada. This is a right guaranteed in our Charter of Rights and Freedom; 2) Reducing the length of time someone must be physically present in Canada to qualify for Citizenship from four years to three years within the five years; 3) Allowing time in Canada before Permanent Residency to count toward the physical presence requirements, benefiting the refugee claimants and those skilled individuals to come to Canada to study and work; the benefits groups like protected persons and parents and grandparents on visitors’ visas; 4) Eliminating the age range for language and knowledge requirements, making the ages under 18 and older 54 will be exempted.

Lastly, Abegail Miranda-Quitoriano, a new immigrant, writes: “I have to thank Minister John McCallum for making Canada as a welcoming country. As a new immigrant, all we wanted is a fresh new start in this country, to build a new life. Being away from my native land, Philippines, is not easy but with the new Citizenship Act, we are given an equal rights to call Canada our new home.”