Canada’s Citizenship Rules Are Getting a Major Makeover

The Background 

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced major changes to our Canadian citizenship rules yesterday, in an attempt to “undo barriers the former Conservative government put in place.” Hussen said that the changes the Conservative government made were unnecessary and simply made it more difficult for permanent residents to obtain Canadian citizenship. He didn’t hold back when asked about the Harper government’s approach to citizenship saying, “Something happened in the last number of years whereby the previous government had deliberately put obstacles, real barriers, to citizenship for permanent residents.” Clearly, those days are over. CTV News

What Else You Need to Know

The new rules (which take effect October 11) allow residents to apply for citizenship as long as they’ve spent three of the last five years in Canada. Ottawa’s also scrapping the requirement that permanent residents spend at least 183 days of the year in the country in order to be eligible for citizenship — residents can now travel as much as they want while still being eligible (no more suffering through Canadian winter.). Another key change comes to the way the federal government counts eligible years in Canada. In the past, years foreigners spent here working, traveling, studying or as refugees didn’t count towards their eligible years…but under the new rules, it will. Lastly, only newcomers between the ages of 18 and 54 will be forced to pass a citizenship knowledge and language test (reduced from the previous range of 14 to 64).