September 20, 2015

Why everyone is unhappy with new citizenship law?

The Citizenship Act of Canada which only amended once in 2009 was amended again this year which is causing a stir among the people. Talking about this new law, Chris Alexander, the minister of Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration, announced: “It would remind individuals that citizenship is not a right, it’s a privilege.” However, most people aren’t very happy with it as they feel that the changes are not in the right and democratic direction. Here are the top four reasons for why the people feel this way:

1. No Security for the Citizenship

As per the old law, once the citizenship had been granted, it could not be revoked under any circumstances or for any reasons unless it had been obtained by fraudulent means. Even in the case of obtaining it by fraudulent means, there used to be a full court hearing before a Federal Court Judge to decide whether to revoke the citizenship or not. But with the new law, it can be revoked for many reasons just by a citizenship officer’s decision, without even a live hearing.

2. Division of Canada into two classes

As per the new law, the Canadians get divided into the First-class Canadians with no other citizenship or the possibility of obtaining another one and the Second-class Canadians who have dual citizenship or the possibility of dual citizenship. Interestingly, sometimes people are not even aware that they become citizens of some other country just by marrying that country’s citizen or having a parent or grandparent from that country. All the people having a dual citizenship will be at the risk of losing their citizenship and their right to live in Canada under certain circumstances. For example, if a citizenship officer feels that such a citizen does not intend to live in Canada then he/she can revoke the citizenship of that person. Also, such citizens can lose their citizenship even if they are convicted for a crime in a country other than Canada.

3. Disadvantage for immigrants

Earlier, in order to be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, the permanent residents had to live in Canada only for three years. Now, that time period has been increased to four years. That means such people will not leave Canada for four years even during emergencies for the fear of losing the eligibility to apply for citizenship. In case of international students and foreign workers, the time they spend in Canada before getting the permanent residency will no longer be considered for being eligible to apply for citizenship.

4. Passing tests is mandatory:

As per the new law, all immigrant applicants ages 14 to 64 must pass the language tests for English or French. This law was earlier for people aged 18 to 55. Now, for some of the older immigrants, it is very difficult to pass such tests at an old age.

Thus, many critics say that the new law will gradually weaken the citizenship.


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