Immigration Minister Launches Revamped Citizenship Criteria

New reforms introduced on Thursday by Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, now infer that wannabe-Canadians will have to wait four years, rather than the current three, before applying for citizenship. Additional changes include an increase in the fees, along with tougher language and knowledge requirements.

These changes were introduced by Mr. Alexander as an attempt to fortify the value of Canadian citizenship, as they also raised the penalty for fraud and required a commitment from prospective Canadians to reside in the country. Moreover, the reforms also implied that Canadians convicted of terrorism, espionage or treason, or who decided to fight against Canada, would be deprived of their citizenship, given they are “dual nationals,” meaning they have citizenship in another country. Mr. Alexander stated that “Canadians understand that citizenship should not be simply a passport of convenience.” He added that “Citizenship is a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to values rooted in our history.”

These changes are the most comprehensive in almost three decades, and were prompted when police investigated thousands of cases when immigrants acquired Canadian citizenship and permanent resident status but spent little, or no, time actually living or paying taxes in Canada. Conclusively, one of the major change in the new measures would require those seeking citizenship to sign a declaration confirming that they will reside in Canada. According to an official briefing to the reporters, it was stated that “the purpose is really to signal that Canadian citizenship is for people who intend to live in Canada and make Canada their home.”

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