The highly anticipated Bill C-6 has finally been passed and is now considered law. The changes introduced however, have been scheduled for a phased release, with some measures coming into force immediately, while others will take effect over the coming months.
Immediate Changes (effective June 19, 2017):
- Provision to revoke citizenship from dual citizens convicted of treason, spying and terrorism offences, or who were a part of an armed force of a country or organized group engaged in conflict with Canada, has been repealed. Dual citizens who are convicted of such offences will be tried in Canada, under our justice system.
- Provision to require applicants to be required to intend to live in Canada once citizenship is granted, has been repealed.
- Age of requirement for citizenship has been removed, allowing minor children to apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent.
- Those serving a conditional sentence (serving a sentence in the community) will no longer be able to count this time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship. In addition, they will not be granted citizenship or take the Oath of Citizenship.
- Previously, the Minister had the discretion to grant citizenship in special circumstances, such as to alleviate cases of special and unusual hardship, or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada. A new provision has been added to consider Statelessness as a stand-alone ground for a discretionary grant of citizenship.
- Disabled persons are now considered according to a new requirement, that indicates reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of a citizenship applicant who is a disabled person are taken into consideration.
- Earlier, the requirement for applicants to maintain the requirements for citizenship from the time they apply for citizenship until they took the Oath of Citizenship only applied to applications received on or after June 11, 2015. The requirement has been expanded to include all applications, including those received before June 11, 2015.
Changes expected to take place in the next few months (Fall 2017):
- The requirement for applicants to be in Canada for four out of the preceding six years before applying for citizenship has been changed to three out of five years.
- Previously, applicants had to file Canadian income taxes, if applicable, for four out of the six years prior to their application. The requirement has been updated to match the physical presence requirement of three out of five years.
- The requirement for applicants to be in Canada for at least 183 days in each of the four out of six years preceding their application, has been repealed.
- Applicants will be permitted to count any time spent in Canada as a temporary resident (prior to obtaining permanent residence), as half days towards achieving the physical presence requirement for Citizenship, up to a maximum of one year.
- The language and knowledge requirements have been amended to make it compulsory for applicants to meet that are between the ages of 18 and 54 years (previously the requirement was for those between ages 14 to 64).
Changes expected to take effect next year (beginning of 2018):
- The Federal Court, rather than the Minister, will now be the decision-maker in all revocation cases (on the grounds of false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances), unless the individual requests that the Minister make the decision.
- There will now be clear authority for Citizenship Officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents under the Citizenship Act.
Contact our office today to find out how these changes will affect your eligibility to apply for Canadian Citizenship.