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Individuals Granted Canadian Citizenship Doubled

Posted on February 28, 2014

More than 19,200 people from 193 countries have become Canadian citizens at citizenship ceremonies held across Canada over the month of February. This is almost 100 percent higher compared to the same period last year (February 2013) when approximately 9,980 people were granted citizenship across Canada.

For more information, please click here.

Canadian Citizenship and “Lost” Canadians

Posted on February 20, 2014

Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today reinforced the government’s commitment to extend citizenship to more “Lost Canadians” through measures proposed in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

In 2009, the government implemented changes that restored or gave citizenship to the vast majority of people who had lost it or never received it due to outdated legislation—including to some born before 1947. Yet a small number of “Lost Canadians” such as some first generation children born abroad to war brides and service men were still not eligible for Canadian citizenship.

The proposed amendments in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act include extending citizenship to most of the remaining “Lost Canadians” who were born before the first Canadian Citizenship Act took effect in 1947 as well as to their children who were born outside Canada in the first generation.

For more information, please click here.

Canadian Citizenship and the Armed Forces

Posted on February 20, 2014

Today Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander reaffirmed the government’s commitment to honouring those who serve Canada by highlighting measures proposed in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

To recognize the important contributions of those who have served Canada in uniform, and those who currently serve, permanent residents who are members of the Canadian Armed Forces will have quicker access to Canadian citizenship. Bill C-24 also stipulates that children born to Canadian parents serving abroad as servants of the Crown are able to pass on their citizenship to children they have or adopt outside Canada.

With these changes, Canada will be in line with most of our peer countries, by providing that citizenship can be revoked from dual nationals who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and spying offences (depending on the sentence received), or who take up arms against Canada. Permanent residents who commit these acts will be barred from applying for citizenship.

For more information, please click here.

Citizenship Fraud

Posted on February 19, 2014

Today Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander reinforced the government’s commitment to tackling citizenship fraud through measures proposed in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

Under the new legislation, the government will have the authority to develop regulations to designate a regulatory body whose members would be authorized to act as consultants on citizenship matters. This change will help protect applicants and deter third-party fraud.

Bill C-24 reinforces the value of citizenship by cracking down on fraud and ensuring Canadian citizenship is only offered to those who play by the rules. Proposed measures include:

  • stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or five years in prison);
  • expanding the grounds to bar an application for citizenship to include foreign criminality which will help improve program integrity; and
  • making it an offence for unauthorized individuals to knowingly represent or advise a person on a citizenship application or hearing for a fee.

For more information, please click here.

Six citizenship ceremonies in Montreal

Posted on February 19, 2014

More than 1,000 people from 93 countries are scheduled to become Canadian citizens at one of six citizenship ceremonies scheduled to be held in Montreal today.

To find out more, please click here.

New regulations for International Students as of June 1, 2014

Posted on February 12, 2014

Below is a summary of the changes to take effect on June 1, 2014:

  • Applicants must enrol in and continue to pursue studies in Canada. Failure to do so could lead to removal from Canada
  • Study permits will only be issued to successful applicants who are pursuing studies at an educational institution that has been designated to receive international students.
  • Study permits will automatically authorize the holder to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks without the need to apply for a separate work permit. The study permit holder must be pursuing academic, vocational or professional training of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate at a designated institution.
  • Only international students who are pursuing studies at a secondary school or at a designated institution may apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral part of their course of study.
  • Visitors may apply for a study permit from within Canada if they are at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, are on an academic exchange or a visiting student at a designated learning institution, or have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution.
  • A study permit becomes invalid 90 days following the completion of studies unless the foreign national also possesses a valid work permit or another authorization to remain in Canada.
  • Registered Indians who are also foreign nationals may study in Canada without a study permit as they have the right of entry into Canada.
  • Eligible international graduates will be authorized to work full-time after their studies are completed until a decision is made on their application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

Further information:

  • Education is the responsibility of the provinces and territories. The educational institutions that will be designated will be determined by provincial and territorial governments in coming months.
  • International students enrolling in courses in Canada that will last six months or less do not need a study permit. This is not changing. Students from countries whose citizens require a visitor visa will still need a valid visitor visa.
  • Study permit holders who are studying at a non-designated institution when the new regulations come into effect will be permitted to complete their program of study, up to a maximum of three years after the regulations take effect.
  • International students who are studying at a non-designated institution and hold either an Off-Campus Work Permit or a Co-Op Work Permit will be permitted to continue to use, and renew if necessary, those work permits until they complete their program of study, up to a maximum of three years after the regulations take effect.
  • Additional operational measures to support transitional regulations will be announced closer to June 1, 2014, when the new rules take effect.

For more information, including the current regulations regarding student visas, please click here.

Federal Investor and Entrepreneur Programs to Close

Posted on February 11, 2014

The Economic Action Plan 2014 announced the government’s intent to terminate the federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and Federal Entrepreneur (EN) Program, and thus eliminate a large backlog of applications.

The current IIP provides limited economic benefit to Canada. Research shows that immigrant investors pay less in taxes than other economic immigrants, are less likely to stay in Canada over the medium- to long-term and often lack the skills, including official language proficiency, to integrate as well as other immigrants from the same countries.

The government plans to replace these programs with more focused and effective pilot programs. Details of the new pilots will be announced in the coming months.

For more information, please click here.

Federal Investor Program To Close

Posted on February 10, 2014

Canada’s immigrant investor program is set to close . In 2012, the federal government stopped accepting applications from foreign investors, and now the program will be closed for good as part of the Conservative government’s major immigration reforms.

For more information, please click here.

Changes to the Citizenship Act

Posted on February 6, 2014

Today, Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, announced the first reforms to the Citizenship Act since 1977. The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (Bill C-24)  proposes the following improvements:

  • The citizenship program will be streamlined by reducing the decision-making process from three steps to one, which will reduce the processing time for citizenship applications and clear the current backlog.
  • The Act will clarify that the “residence” period to qualify for citizenship requires physical presence in Canada.
  • Applicants will need to be physically present in Canada for a total of four out of the last six years. In addition, they would need to be physically present in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years.
  • More applicants will be required to meet language requirements and pass a knowledge test.
  • The Act will help individuals with strong ties to Canada. For example, citizenship will be automatically extended to additional “Lost Canadians” who were born before 1947, as well as, to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.
  • Stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation ( max fine of $100,000.00 and/or five years in prison).
  • The Act will include foreign criminality as a bar to an application for citizenship.
  • Citizenship will be revoked for dual nationals who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and spying offences, or who take up arms against Canada. Permanent residents who are convicted of these acts will be barred from applying for Canadian citizenship.
  • Permanent residents who are members of the Canadian Armed Forces will have quicker access to Canadian citizenship.
  • The Act will state that children born to Canadian parents serving abroad as servants of the Crown are able to pass on Canadian citizenship to children they have or adopt outside Canada.

For more information, please click here and here.

New Citizens

Posted on February 4, 2014

Canada welcomed more than 16,000 new citizens in January – twice as many as in January 2013.

The government will take additional steps in the coming days to reduce backlogs while further strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship. As announced in the October 2013 Speech from the Throne, these measures – taken together – will form the first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act in more than a generation.

For more information, please click here.


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