Immigrants living in Canada may soon find it easier to become a citizen of their adopted home country.
During an interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics on Thursday, Canada’s Immigration Minister John McCallum revealed that changes to the current Citizenship Act will be made within the next few weeks.
“We are in general trying to reduce the barriers people have to overcome to become a citizen,” he said.
McCallum explained that the Liberal Government’s new Citizenship Act will be built around two key promises. “We would make it impossible for the government to take away someone’s citizenship, and we would reduce the barriers currently in place that people have to overcome.”
One such barrier is likely to involve reducing the age at which an immigrant must take a language test to prove their proficiency in either English or French from 64 to 54. “We could bring it back to 54,” he admitted. “That’s an adjustment at the margin on the grounds that some older people coming to this country may not be fully proficient in English, although their children will be and their grandchildren certainly will be. It’s one of the things we are potentially considering.”
However, McCallum did stress that the government was not considering removing language test completely.
When asked when the amendments to the citizenship rules would be announced, the Minister replied: “In the coming days and weeks, but not very many weeks.”