Canadian citizenship rules to be reformed during 2014

Canadian citizenship rules to be reformed during 2014

Canadian citizenship rules to be reformed during 2014

According to Canadian immigration authorities, 2014 will see the most comprehensive reform in decades of rules relating to the Citizens Act.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander told the media that the reform bill is due to be tabled during the upcoming parliamentary session. He added that the envisaged changes will be far-reaching, but will not at present affect the right to Canadian citizenship for those born in the country to immigrant parents.

However, the minister added that the issue of whether to grant citizenship to newborns has raised the problem of ‘birth tourism’. He admitted that lawyers and immigration officials haven’t yet decided on the best way to deal with ‘passport babies’, although a solution should be found later in 2014.

Alexander is concerned about the numbers of potential citizens who are falling through the loop due to their birth situation, quoting examples such as children of war brides and others who should not have been refused citizenship in the past. New legislation, he said, has to deal with this by ending injustices.

The new rules will give the government the ability to cancel citizenship as a last resort in cases of terrorism and treasonable activities. Immigrants applying to become citizens may need to wait more years before qualifying, he said, but once applications have been received, approval times will be faster.

Importantly, accounting to Alexander, the proposed new legislation will include measures to drastically cut the present backlog of applications. For new applicants, eligibility rules are likely to be tougher, ensuring that applicants understand the responsibilities of citizenship and what it means to be Canadian.

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