CIC News June 19, 2013

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is the department of the Canadian government concerned with the intake of immigrants among other responsibilities. Regular news releases announce major events for the department.

June 14: Minister Jason Kenney Leads Session of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

A plan designed to ensure that the lessons of the holocaust will not be forgotten was approved by the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance today according to Minister of Citizenship Immigration and Multiculturalism.

The meeting was held in Berlin and focused on creating programs which would remember and memorialize the awful events that occurred in Central Europe in the mid-20th century.

Additionally, the program looks toward preventing future anti-Semitism and future acts of genocide.

June 17: Citizenship Judge Appointment

Andrea Paine was appointed full-time citizenship judge of Montreal on the advice of Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

“Citizenship judges are responsible for making decisions on citizenship applications, presiding over citizenship ceremonies and administering the oath of citizenship to new citizens,” the Citizenship and Immigration Canada news release stated.

Citizenship judges are only considered after rigorous examination and screening. There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for the position.

June 18: Unprecedented Access to Immigration Data Now Available

The Canadian Government launched a new version of the Open Data Portal, an online resource that provides people with access to government statistics and other data.

According to Minister Kenney, the information about immigrants is very popular on this database and the CIC is quite excited about the newest launch.

Marriage and Citizenship

Contrary to popular belief, one does not automatically become a citizen as soon as they marry a Canadian citizen.

Citizenship in Canada is a coveted status that requires all potential applicants to meet certain requirements before they are given a certificate of citizenship.

It is true that it is much easier to get citizenship if you are married to a Canadian citizen, but there are still the main citizenship requirements to fulfill.

Citizenship Requirements

In order to become a citizen, you must be able to meet certain requirements:

  • You must be a Permanent Resident of Canada. This can be achieved much easier if you are already married to a US citizen.
  • You must be proficient in one of the official languages of Canada. Being able to read, write, speak and listen to either English or French is mandatory for Canadian citizenship.
  • You will have to pass a test that examines your knowledge of Canadian government and history. Studying for this test is probably a good idea.
  • You must be able to meet certain eligibility requirements. The Canadian government would like to see that you are already living in Canada and will likely continue to do so.

Citizenship Process

For spouses of Canadian citizens who wish to become citizens, the process will look something like this:

  1. Confirm marriage (make it official in the eyes of a government organization.)
  2. Become a Permanent Resident of Canada.
  3. Wait a while, study the language, learn about the country.
  4. Apply for Citizenship.
  5. Take and pass the citizenship tests.
  6. Take the Oath of Allegiance and celebrate your new citizenship!

Dual Citizenship for Canadians

Citizenship is a particular status within a country and is slightly different for each country. Dual citizenship is a status whereby a person is a citizen of two countries and enjoys the benefits citizenship within both countries.

Although the definition for citizenship may be slightly different for each country, generally citizenship allows a person to vote in a particular country, to us that country’s passport and to be protected by that country’s diplomatic mission when abroad.

There are some countries which require people to renounce their citizenship from any other country before becoming their citizen. To learn whether or not one can hold dual citizenship you must first check with the governments of both countries for any contradictions in citizenship policy.

Canada allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship, especially if the second country is part of the British Commonwealth (Great Britain or Australia for example).

To get a better idea of how dual citizenship works we will describe a situation where dual citizenship is allowed:

Say a person is born in the United Kingdom. They automatically become a British citizen.

One day, they decide to immigrate to Canada and they become a Permanent Resident of Canada.

Currently they have British citizenship and Canadian Permanent Residency.

After a period of time, they decide to apply for Canadian citizenship. Since they never renounced their British citizenship, they retain this status throughout the process.

After this person completes the required citizenship application, passes the knowledge test, passes the language test and takes the Canadian oath of allegiance, they become a Canadian citizenship which they can then add onto their British citizenship status.

This person can now possess passports from Britain and Canada, vote in British and Canadian elections and have all of the other rights that citizenship confers onto people in these two countries.

This process works in much the same way for many different countries, but it is important to remember to check with both countries foreign affairs agencies to make sure that there are no other requirements for dual citizenship.

Popular “Come to Canada Wizard” Offers Quick Answers

One million people have used Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) Immigration Wizard since its inception on August 5, 2011.

The Wizard is designed to provide potential immigrants with useful information on what they need to do in order to come to Canada. Initial responses to the program were positive and it appears that the Wizard is a success as an information generation system.

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, commented on the Wizard as being yet another program designed to “continually improve our services to immigrants,” according to a press release from CIC.

This is how the Immigration Wizard works:

Below are some of the questions that you will be asked if you choose to use the Immigration Wizard:

  • What would you like to do in Canada?
  • How long are you planning to stay in Canada?
  • What is the country of nationality of your passport?
  • What is your current country of residence?
  • Do you have a family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent Resident and is 18 years old or older?
  • What is your date of birth?

Depending on the answers that you give to the Wizard the questionnaire will further study your qualifications for application. At the end of the exam you will be presented with a website which will give you this information:

  • Whether or not you are eligible to come to Canada on the visa that you specified.
  • What forms you may need to use during your application process.
  • What your collection of points (if applicable) means.

Do I Need My PR Card to Come Back to Canada?

The shortest answer to this question is yes, you will need your PR Card to come back to Canada in a smooth and orderly fashion.

Permanent Residents are of course allowed to travel abroad at any time they wish as long as they maintain basic residency requirements to retain their PR status, but part of the basic purpose of the PR Card is to help you back into Canada.

It is understandable, that occasionally, something will happen and you may not be able to get a new PR Card in time for your return to the country. In which case, you will have a couple of different options to choose from depending upon your situation.

The primary difference between what should be done depends on the mode of transportation in which you expect to return to Canada: commercial or private?

Commercial Entry

Commercial entry is when one enters Canada on some sort of public transportation; this could be a boat, a plane a bus or other mass-transit vehicle.

If you do not have a Permanent Resident Card, or that card is expired, when you intend to return to Canada you will have to apply for a Travel Document at a Canadian Visa Office. Contact the local embassy to find one.

Private Entry

People re-entering Canada in a private vehicle (most often one’s own car, but it can be a boat or airplane) can use their Record of Landing or Confirmation of Permanent Residence documents in lieu of a Permanent Resident card.

Conclusion

All in all, it is better to maintain a current and well taken-care-of Permanent Resident Card because you never know when you may need to travel abroad.

CIC Celebrates Success of Help Centre

Citizenship and Immigration Canada established an online Help Centre on their website about six months ago and in a news release from Wednesday they announced that four million people had used it.

“People have questions about how to come to Canada and this new user-friendly and convenient Web tool provides the practical information that they need in a quick and effective manner,” Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney said.

Indeed, the help center offers answers, solutions and guides to all of the most commonly asked about parts of Canadian immigration.

The Help Centre is divided into five main parts:

Search Function

Don’t have time to sift through the most common topics? Search the Help Centre with some of the keywords you think will help you find your answer. You will likely get your best results from short phrases instead of longer questions.

Featured Topics

A series of articles are available for a multitude of topics such as:

  • General application questions
  • Application Status
  • Permanent Resident Cards
  • Sponsoring Family Members
  • Citizenship
  • Work Permits

Not too sure of what you are looking for? This is a good place to start. You’ll be able to get used to the kinds of questions you’ll want to ask during the process.

Most Popular

The most popular section is a collection of questions that are commonly asked at the CIC. Many people immigrate to Canada every year and there’s a good chance that they had a similar experience to what you are having.

Topics A to Z

Here you will find a complete list of all immigration topics made available through the Help Centre.

Glossary

The glossary contains clear definitions of the words used at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Understanding these exact definitions will help you navigate the immigration process much more successfully.

Citizenship Test Re-Do

As a part of continuing immigration reform in the Canadian government by Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, applicants who fail their citizenship test will get a chance to re-do it, according to a Citizenship and Immigration Canada news release.

The citizenship test is one of the last steps for a Permanent Resident who is becoming a citizen of Canada. It examines one’s understanding of either the English or French language as well as their knowledge of Canadian history, government and culture.

Previously, Permanent Residents who failed this test had to wait months until they could go before an immigration judge and make their argument for citizenship. Oftentimes this is where they would try to pass the test again, only in front of the citizenship judge. This process has been judged to be ineffectual and needlessly lengthy.

Now, if immigrants do not pass the test they will be offered the chance to re-take the test a few weeks after the first test.  Once an immigrant passes the citizenship test, they will be able to take the citizenship oath and become a citizen.

For Permanent Residents who are applying as a group, such as the case with family applications, one person’s failure to pass the citizenship test will not hold back other people on the application who have passed the test from taking their citizenship oaths.

This is not the first reform involving the citizenship test. Early in the 2000s the test was changed to be much harder, but the result of this action caused very large numbers of immigrants to fail the immigration test. Even people who were already Canadian citizens would fail this test! Shortly thereafter, the test was made more reasonable and it is this edition of the test which is used now.

Increased Settlement Program Funding

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has increased funding for settlement funding programs throughout Canada. British Colombia has seen an almost 300% increase in funding since 2006.

Because of this increase in money available for settlement funding, the government of British Colombia is currently accepting proposals from organizations and individuals for the creation and start-up of immigrant settlement programs.

“The federal government has tripled settlement funding since 2006, and ensured that each region of Canada receives a fair share of national funding for settlement services so that newcomers have access to the same quality of services regardless of where they choose to settle,” Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney said in a CIC news report.

From the inception of the Harper government’s immigration plan, officials have been repeating their steadfast support of immigration settlement. Their justification of this support stems from the belief, often backed up by thorough research, that helping immigrants settle into Canada is not only beneficial to the immigrants, but to society as a whole.

Entrepreneurs or organizations looking to create one of these programs can apply for grants with the CIC online; however, they must submit their application by the close of business on July 8, 2013. The agreements are to be made with the CIC and the programs will be supported for a maximum of two years.

Immigrant assistance programs may be offered for the following services:

  • Language programs (for English or French)
  • Support groups
  • Help in applying for citizenship or other governmental benefits
  • Getting a job
  • Finding education programs in Canada.