Business Immigration Update: Citizenship Eligibility, AINP Changes, National Immigration Levels And NAFTA

February 2, 2018

By Mondaq |

Recent Citizenship Changes

On October 11, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced changes to the Citizenship Act that allows permanent residents to apply for Canadian citizenship after they have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days (three years) in the five years immediately before the date of their application. To be eligible, the applicant must also: (i) have filed personal income taxes for at least three years within the five-year period (if required under the Income Tax Act); (ii) demonstrate adequate knowledge of English or French; and, (iii) demonstrate adequate knowledge of Canada (if the applicant is between 18 and 54 years old when they apply). To calculate physical presence in Canada, each day the applicant was physically present in Canada as an authorized temporary resident before they became a permanent resident counts as half a day (up to a maximum of 365 days) and each day they were physically present in Canada as a permanent resident counts as one day. Now that minors are eligible for citizenship without a Canadian parent, the above criteria applies regardless of age, except for the language and knowledge requirements as outlined.

Under the previous requirements, the applicant had to be physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days (four years) during the six years immediately before the date of their application. They must also have been physically present for at least 183 days during each of the four calendar years that were fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application. When calculating their physical presence in Canada, they could only count time spent after they became a permanent resident of Canada. For many foreign nationals who worked in Canada as a temporary foreign worker on a valid Work Permit, the new guidelines allow them to count more time towards the physical presence in Canada requirement. The previous age requirement (ages 14 – 64) required applicants to demonstrate adequate knowledge of English or French and knowledge of Canada. By changing the age requirement, this may make applying for citizenship more accessible and less burdensome for some applicants.

If you think you may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, contact your immigration lawyer to discuss your physical presence requirements.

Proposed AINP Changes Postponed

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (“AINP”) announced on December 15, 2017 that previous planned changes that were scheduled to come into effect on January 2, 2018, has been postponed. The AINP office has stated that the planned changes were postponed in order for the government to continue conversations with affected stakeholders and that applicants can continue to apply under the existing application streams.

Under the proposed changes initially announced in October 2017, the AINP office indicated that it would begin to accept applications under two streams: the new Alberta Opportunity Stream and the Self-Employed Farmer Stream. The Alberta Opportunity Stream would replace the Employer-Driven Stream and Strategic Recruitment Stream. The AINP office also previously announced that it would have an Alberta Express Entry stream operational in January 2018.

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