Canada Considering Stringent Citizenship Rules

By Editorial 06 May, 2014

The Canadian Bar Association has warned that proposed new powers allowing for the revocation of Canadians' citizenship and introducing a requirement for citizenship applicants to demonstrate their intent to reside in Canada may deter expats and also unfairly punish Canadians working abroad.

Bill C-24, The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, stipulates that applicants must be physically present in Canada for 1,460 days during the six-year period preceding their application, and be physically present for 183 days during each of four of the six years preceding their application. Time spent in Canada as a temporary resident cannot count towards the 1,460 days.

Further, citizenship may be revoked from dual nationals who are convicted and sentenced to five years or more for offenses outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute a terrorism offense.

The CBA warns that the more stringent rules may be unconstitutional and violate the mobility rights of naturalized citizens, affecting those who unexpectedly find that they need to go abroad temporarily for employment or for personal reasons.

On the grounds for revocation, the law body says that the moves would fundamentally change the concept of citizenship, with "levels of citizenship" and exile as an "additional form of punishment" that can be imposed on some but not others. It says that the five-year term of imprisonment is arbitrary, and, citing the case of Nelson Mandela, suggests that defining terrorism in a political context is complex.

However, the CBA also says that it welcomes the Bill's clarification of residency requirements, and provisions to allow the granting of citizenship retroactively to more "lost Canadians."

The CBA's concerns and recommendations appear in a 30-page submission to the Commons Citizenship and Immigration Standing Committee.

Tags: Citizenship | Canada | Expats | Immigration | Visas And Passports | Immigration |


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