On February 6, 2014, the Canadian government announced a number
of proposed amendments ("Bill C-24") to the
Citizenship Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-29 (the
"Act"), which, if passed, would mark the first
comprehensive set of changes to the Act since 1977. Below is a
summary of some of the highlights of Bill C-24 as they compare to
the current Citizenship Act.
Currently, a permanent resident must physically reside in Canada
for three of the last four years before becoming eligible to apply
for citizenship. Under the new scheme, the residency requirement
will be increased to four of the last six years and applicants will
need to be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days per
year for four of those six years. There is also a provision that
mandates an applicant declare his or her intention to
reside in Canada once granted citizenship.
Under the current Act, there is no requirement for Canadian
permanent residents to file Canadian income tax returns on their
worldwide income in order to be eligible for a grant of
citizenship. Bill C-24 would require adult applicants to file
Canadian income tax returns to be eligible for citizenship.
Bill C-24 will require applicants aged 14-64 to meet language
and knowledge tests in English and French, which represents an
increase from the current range of 18-54.
Timing and Fees
The citizenship process will change from a three-step to a
one-step process and the government filing fees will increase from
$100 to $300. These changes are expected to decrease the processing
time from 24 months for a routine application to under 12
Bill C-24 will grant CIC the authority to refuse an applicant
for committing citizenship fraud, and the fine and penalties
associated with such a crime will increase from a maximum of $1,000
and one year in prison, to a maximum of $100,000 and five years in
prison. Applicants could also be barred from reapplying for
citizenship for ten years, rather than five.
Furthermore, the amendments will make it an offence for
unauthorized immigration consultants to knowingly represent
applicants or aid applicants in committing residence fraud.
Penalties for such offences can include fines of $100,000, or up to
two years in prison, or both, in the case of an indictable
conviction. For a summary conviction, the penalties can include
fines of $20,000, and, or up to six months in prison.
Consequences of Bill C-24
Bill C-24 has been viewed by some as controversial; however, it
should be emphasized that the Bill is still in its infancy and may
change or not be passed. What is clear is that the current
government intends to tighten the process for obtaining citizenship
and enact requirements in an effort to ensure that a person who
obtains citizenship wants to remain in Canada once citizenship is
An individual who is eligible to apply for citizenship under the
current rules should strongly consider submitting the application
now in case Bill C-24 is passed in its current form.
The foregoing provides only an overview. Readers are
cautioned against making any decisions based on this material
alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
October 19th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 22nd round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 45th overall, inviting 1804 applicants for permanent residence, the largest number ever. The lowest CRS score was 475, a decline from the previous draw.
September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
A unique feature of the new Canada express entry immigration system is that candidates can improve their comprehensive ranking score while in the express entry pool, without submitting a new application. We review important strategies.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).