Changes in the bill, which will change the Canadian Citizenship Act, have finally been approved by the Senate. This brings the ideas closer to becoming real laws. As a result of the proposed changes, immigrants arriving in Canada will be able to apply for Canadian citizenship faster and easier than they did it before.
45 members of the Senate voted in favor of these changes and 29 members voted against. There were no abstentions. The bill was confirmed on May 3 at about 4 P.M. However, the Senators in Ottawa asked their colleagues in the House of Commons to look again at the bill and the changes made by the Senate after the first version, which was confirmed in June last year. Before the bill comes into force, the royal assent must be obtained.
This bill implies a reduction in the time through which persons with permanent resident status have the right to apply for Canadian citizenship – from 4 out of 6 years spent in the country to 3 out of 5. In addition, applicants who have spent time in the country on a temporary basis, having a work permit of study permit, will be able to include a part of this time spent in the required three-year period.
In the bill, submitted by the House of Commons last year, the age range for the test in the official language was from 18 to 54 years. After the changes, the age range will increase by 6 years and will be from 18 to 60.
During the reading in the Senate, the Senators added a number of changes to the bill. Among them there is a provision, under which it will be necessary to inform the persons whose citizenship is going to be canceled because of allegations of fraud that they have the right to appeal to the Federal Court.
Another change, added by the Senator of the Conservative Party of Canada, Victor Oh, is that minors will be allowed to apply for citizenship without the help of their parents. Under the laws in force, parents and children are considered as a single applicant. If the parent is denied citizenship, the children included in the application will also not be able to obtain citizenship. In this case, the child had to wait for his age of majority to apply again.
“Despite the fact that it took almost a year for the Senate to approve the bill, after three readings it obtained quite important changes,” said the Attorney David Cohen. “However, the essence of the bill remains complete and, if it comes into force, immigrants will have access to a faster and easier way to Canadian citizenship.”