Residents Advised to Apply for Citizenship Before Citizenship Act, Bill C-24

citizenship-act-bill-c-24Many Canadian residents are being urged to apply for Canadian Citizenship in advance of some of the changes due to be brought into place following the introduction of the Citizenship Act Bill C-24.

There has been a lot of worry and confusion concerning future citizens and permanent residents of Canada, and how they should react to the new bill, so we’re going to go over some of the facts below.

Applying for Canadian Citizenship in Anticipation of Bill C-24

Although Bill C-24 is now law, some of the biggest changes expected to raise controversy will not actually kick in until next June, and in a nutshell, the new bill makes citizenship harder to achieve, and easier to lose.

Free Workshops Available

Luckily for residents in working-class Rexdale have been given access to a free citizen workshop run by the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, which is helping immigrants and future immigrants (many with families in-tow) better understand how the changes will affect them.

One community legal worker, Aytaj Aliyeva, was recently involved in passing information on to members of her community. She said: “We are advising you to file your application as soon as possible if you are already eligible.”

Changes that are due to kick in next June (2015) include a raise in the exemption age for the language and citizen test to 65 (previously 55) and the requirement for applicants to have been present in the country for a total of four years out of six, rather than the previous three out of four, according to the Star.

Executive director of the Rexdale legal clinic, Ann McRae, stated: “We want to tell people it’s not too late, and they should take advantage of the old rules.”

Where the Confusion Lies

Because the changes – in many cases – were rushed through, there has been a bit of confusion over which rules apply, when, and to whom, and it’s said that immigrants who are the least educated and language proficient will be most affected by the new regulations.

Avvy Go from the Metro Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic highlighted the fact that many residents had lived in Canada for a long period of time and have lives there: “They have jobs, families and are well-integrated in the community but must wait till they turn 55 to apply for citizenship because they know their English is not good enough to pass the test.”

Now, if these older citizens do not apply in time, they will have to wait until they turn 65 to be exempt from the language tests, leaving many out in the cold with the chance of losing their permanent residency in the meantime.

One resident who will be affected is Xiao Gang Yin, a Chinese immigrant due to turn 55 years old in August, who has resided in Toronto since he arrived back in 1999.

Are You Concerned About Citizenship Act, Bill C-24?

If you are affected by Citizenship Act Bill C-24, or are in need of immigration services, contact the team at VisaPlace to book a consultation and find out more about how we can help you.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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