Approximately 2,400 new citizens from more than 125 countries have been welcomed to Canada at citizenship ceremonies held at Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Mississauga office over the past two weeks.
And it is hoped that proposed changes in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, will also reduce wait times by streamlining the decision-making process for citizenship. It is expected that these changes will bring the average processing time for citizenship applications down to under one year and that the current backlog will be reduced by more than 80 per cent by 2015-2016.The Canadian government is currently looking at raising the number of immigrants becoming citizens each year. Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in the country’s history – an average of 257,000 newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 per cent.
“Our government views citizenship as a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to values rooted in our history,” stated Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “We are proud to welcome our newest Canadian citizens. We look forward to their full participation in Canada’s economy and Canadian society. Our government will continue to improve Canada’s citizenship programme to ensure deserving applicants can become citizens more quickly.”
In 2013, 128,936 people were granted citizenship at ceremonies across Canada – an average of 10,745 each month. However, in February alone more than 19,200 people from 193 countries became Canadian citizens at citizenship ceremonies held across Canada over the month of February 2014, almost 100 percent higher than the same period last year.
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