New Citizenship Act of Canada will be fully coming into force on June 11, 2015. The key features include the requirement of physical residence in Canada for 1460 days instead of 1095 days. Only approved Citizenship consultants would be allowed to receive payments for citizenship matters. The new Canadian citizen would require to declare their intent to stay in the country after becoming Canadian citizen. The measures are to deter people using Canadian citizenship as citizenship of convenience.
Not only the authorized citizenship consultants will be allowed to provide paid consultation on Canadian citizenship matters but also strict penalties have been introduced including fine of up to $100,000 for those involved in citizenship fraud.
After the Citizenship Act comes into force on June 1, 2015, following key provisions will be applicable to all the applicants for Canadian citizens.
- Adult applicants must now be physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (four years) during the six years before the date of their application, and they must be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days in each of four calendar years within the qualifying period. This is aimed at ensuring that citizenship applicants develop a strong attachment to Canada.
- Applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must meet basic knowledge and language requirements. This is aimed at ensuring that more new citizens are better prepared for life in Canada.
- Citizenship will be automatically extended to additional “Lost Canadians” on June 11th, who were born before 1947, and did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 when the first Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect. This will also apply to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.
- Adult applicants must declare their intent to reside in Canada once they become citizens and meet their personal income tax obligations in order to be eligible for citizenship.
- To help improve program integrity, there are now stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (to a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison). This is aimed at deterring unscrupulous applicants who are prepared to misrepresent themselves, or advise others to do so.
- The newly-designated Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is the new regulatory body for citizenship consultants. Only members of the ICCRC, lawyers or notaries (including paralegals and students at law) can be paid to provide citizenship applicants with representation or advice.
- New application forms, aligned with the new rules for eligibility, will be available on the CIC website as of June 11, 2015. Any applications received using the old forms and applications received after June 10, 2015 will be returned to the applicant.
More information about the Citiznship act can be found at Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.