CANADA: Citizenship Law Changes
Citizenship Testing Procedures Amended
Citizenship applicants in Canada who fail their first citizenship test will now have the opportunity to rewrite the test rather than wait for an appointment with a citizenship judge. In the past, individuals who failed their knowledge test had to wait several months for an appointment with a citizenship judge, who would then make a final decision on their case. Under the new procedure, applicants will be informed of their results immediately following their test. Individuals who fail but who have met all other criteria will be provided with a date to rewrite the test a few weeks later. Those who pass their test will be scheduled for a citizenship ceremony. Additionally, individuals who are currently waiting to see a citizenship judge because they had previously failed the test will also be invited to rewrite the test.
Citizenship Applications to be Separated for Approval
All family members listed on one application no longer must be approved at the same time. Previously, there were cases where all family members who had applied together were held up in obtaining citizenship when only one family member had failed a knowledge or language test. Successful applicants will now be informed that they may have their applications processed independently of other family members. This means that fewer people will need to wait for their applications to be processed and can proceed directly to being granted citizenship.
Government Hires More Citizenship Judges
In an attempt to reduce the growing citizenship backlog, the government of Canada announced an investment of $44 million over two years toward improving citizenship processing. It is hoped that these funds will assist the government to address the growing backlog on straightforward citizenship applications that are currently in a queue of 25 months or more. The government is also increasing the number of citizenship judges in Canada so they can make more decisions on citizenship applications and hold more citizenship ceremonies.
New Citizenship Test Preparation Resource
The citizenship eligibility test study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, has now been made available as an integrated audio eBook download, for a more efficient way to learn about Canada's history, values, symbols, and important institutions. The audio eBook allows people to hear the text of the guide being read aloud as they follow along on their e-readers, smart phones, or tablets. CIC was the first Canadian government department to produce an eBook. It has been downloaded almost 60,000 times in the past year and a half. Well-known Canadians have lent their voices for portions of the eBooks in English and French.
Canadian Government is Aggressively Prosecuting Residence Fraud in Citizenship Cases
Compliance enforcement on applications for Canadian citizenship has increased dramatically. Applicants who are found to have made false representations or fraudulent claims, or to have knowingly concealing material circumstances in the citizenship process—for example, pretending to be present in Canada to meet the residence requirements for obtaining citizenship—could face charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or the Criminal Code, and/or have their citizenship revoked. The government of Canada offers a tip line through the CIC Call Centre where tips on suspected citizenship fraud cases may be reported.
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