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Friday, June 14, 2013

CIC News - Canadian Citizenship Applicants Face Long Delays, Reforms Underway

According to recent statistics, individuals who are eligible for Canadian citizenship today may not become citizens in time to vote in the 2015 federal election. Delays in application processing, which range from 21 to 29 months, have left over 24,000 individuals waiting to take the final step in their journey to becoming Canadian.

Since 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) says that an increase in Canadian permanent residents has led to a 30% increase in demand for Canadian citizenship. Without sufficient resources to process this growing demand, significant backlogs have formed. While the government is taking steps to ensure that processing times are reduced, change has been slow for those already waiting in the queue.

Sound familiar? Increased demand, staffing issues, growing backlogs? Minister Kenney and the Harper Government can't say they didn't see this coming.

One of their solutions to the backlog is to make citizenship actually take longer and make it more expensive for permanent residents. The expense and delay are a two-fold tool: proving your fluency in one of Canada's official languages now requires a third-party test (starting at $150.00 CAD if you can't prove your fluency by other means); the delay comes because you have to pass this test before you can apply. Should you fail the citizenship knowledge test, the delay you will experience comes in scheduling a make-up test. Previously, a citizenship judge would determine whether those who did not pass the Canadian knowledge test were still eligible for citizenship. Adding time and expense to any process are sure methods of creating attrition. The Harper Government plays this card well.

Read the article here

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