Bill C-6 Becomes Law; Makes The Path To Canadian Citizenship Smoother

Bill C-6 Becomes Law; Makes The Path To Canadian Citizenship Smoother
Image Credit: Citizenship and Immigration Canada / YouTube video (screenshot)

Justin Trudeau-led government’s Bill C-6 has become law after receiving the Royal Assent on Monday. The bill will make it easier for thousands of immigrants and their families to obtain Canadian citizenship. The new legislation allows permanent residents to apply for Canadian citizenship sooner than previously. However, not all changes will come into effect immediately. Some of the measures would come into force later this year, while others would become effective only in early 2018.

Are you now eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship?

The Bill C-6 repeals many of the changes that the Conservative government had introduced with Bill C-24 in 2014. Under the new law, immigrants are required to have lived a minimum of 1,095 days in Canada within a five-year period to be eligible for the Canadian citizenship. The previous law required them to have lived in the country for 1,460 days within a six-year period.

Go to this link to see if you are eligible for citizenship under the new law. The House of Commons had passed the Bill C-6 a year ago, but it received the Royal Assent only on June 19. It was going back and forth between the Senate and the House of Commons over certain amendments. The bill became law ahead of the Parliament’s summer break, which is set to begin later this week.

Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement that the government wanted as many permanent residents as possible to become Canadian citizens. Hussen wants the newcomers to have the necessary permits to build successful lives in the country. Many people including students and temporary workers develop an attachment to Canada even before they become permanent residents, said Hussen.

What changes does the Bill C-6 bring?

The Bill C-6 allows permanent residents who had spent time in the country on temporary status such as on study or work permit to count up to 365 days of the temporary stay towards citizenship requirements. The legislation has done away with the “intent to reside” provision, which required new citizens to mention that they intended to live in the country.

The Bill C-6 has also repealed a provision that allowed the government to revoke citizenship of dual citizens on national security grounds. It means if someone with dual citizenship is convicted of terrorism, espionage or treason, the Canadian government will not strip them of their Canadian citizenship. The new law also permits children aged below 18 to apply for citizenship even without the consent or support of their parents.

There is a large number of immigrants who lose their citizenship on the grounds that they obtained it fraudulently. The new law gives such people the right to appeal that decision in the Federal Court. Under the new legislation, people aged 18-54 will have to prove knowledge of Canada and language ability.

Canada looking for new ways to attract talent

Canadian citizenship gives immigrants all the rights and responsibilities that come with the status. They enjoy the residency rights, the right to stand for office, and the right to vote. They can also apply for a Canadian passport, one of the most valuable in the world.

As the United States continues to place greater restrictions on immigration, the Canadian government has been trying to attract talent through various initiatives. The country recently launched a new program as part of a Global Skills strategy to issue temporary resident visas and work permits in just two weeks. It is largely aimed at attracting talent from the Silicon Valley.

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