Canadian Citizenship Law and new anti-fraud measures

Immigration Minister Kenney announced recently the Strengthening the Value of Canadian Citizenship Act. The changes will mean that it will be easier to revoke citizenship when it was gained fraudulently. There will also be tougher penalties on crooked citizenship consultants. Immigration Minister Kenney had the following to say:

"Canadian citizenship is highly valued around the world and today we are taking steps to ensure it stays that way."

"These changes will help prevent citizenship fraud. As promised in the Speech from the Throne, these amendments will streamline the process to take citizenship away from those who have acquired it by fraud, including by concealment of their war crimes. And it would take decision-making away from politicians and give it to the courts."

The proposals in the Strengthening the Value of Canadian Citizenship Act are as follows:

  • There are likely to be tough new regulations covering citizenship consultants and tougher measures taken against those who gain Canadian Citizenship fraudulently. This follows on from proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act relating to immigration consultants – The Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act.

  • The penalties for citizenship fraud are likely to be increased to a maximum of $100,000 or up to five years in prison or both.

  • The intention is to increase the residence requirements so that to gain Canadian citizenship you will have to be physically present in Canada for three of the previous four years.

  • In future criminals including violent foreign criminals will be prevented from becoming Canadian citizens.

  • The process for revoking citizenship and the removal process will be speeded up. In future decisions on revocations will be made by the Federal Court instead of the Governor in Council.

  • Making sure that Canadian law fully implements the first generation limit to passing on citizenship. Generally, Canadians living abroad will only be able to pass on citizenship to one generation. If living abroad the second generation will not normally be able to pass on citizenship to their children. The exception to this will be children of parents who are working for the Canadian Government or a Canadian Province or in the Canadian armed forces.

Immigration Minister Kenney also had the following comments to make:

"Canadian citizenship is more than a legal status, more than a passport." …. "We expect citizens to have an ongoing commitment, connection and loyalty to Canada."