Canada unveils path-breaking rules which may require immigrants to spend additional time in Canada as residents, file tax income and have to sign an agreement to continue to live in the country if they want to become citizens.
The proposed reorganization of the Citizenship Act would stretch their period of residency to four years from three years. Language proficiency test to be extended to children aged fourteen years and adults aged sixty four years and penalties for the deceitful applications would be toughened.
China is the single largest source of applications for the Canadian permanent residency and thousands of mainland Chinese and Hongkongers are most affected by the proposed Citizenship Act.
A research by the South China Morning post has discovered that tens of thousands of Mainland Chinese millionaires have flooded Canadian consulate at Hong Kong with the applications for investor immigrant programs. It is the favorite pathway for wealthy Chinese to get a foreign citizenship.
The post also reported, since 1996, nearly 65,000 Hong Kong born Canadians returned to the city, a process which was not legitimately acknowledged because neither Hong Kong nor China recognize the dual citizenship.
Chris Alexander, the Immigration Minister has said all that government is asking people who are applying for the citizenship is to assure a life in Canada and it would track the fraudulent application and take action against them. He said that the ministry is aware of the sources of fraud residency and will focus our investigative team there.
The changes will affect only after the rules were enforced later on this year. The bill is most likely to pass as the conservative party has a strong majority in the Parliament. The new rules give a clear definition of the word “residence”. The applicants must have spent in Canada 1,460 days over a period of 6 years. And they must have been there 183 days per annum in 4 of the 6 years.