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Immigration and Citizenship

Canadian is Canadian

We know that one of the strongest pillars for successful integration into Canadian life is achieving Canadian citizenship.

  • We’ve made changes that allow for more flexibility for eligible applicants to meet the requirements for citizenship. Specifically, we have:

    • Reduced the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship from 4 out of 6 years to 3 out of 5 years;

    • Amended the age range for applicants to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship from 14 to 64 years to 18 to 54 years;

    • Changed the physical presence requirements for citizenship. Going forward, each day an applicant is physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person can be counted as half a day towards meeting their physical presence requirements, up to a maximum of 365 days within five years before applying for citizenship; and

    • Reduced the time required for applicants to file income taxes before applying for citizenship from four out of six years to three out of five years, to align with the physical presence requirements.

  • Eliminated the previous Conservative government’s unfair changes for permanent residents. This means people are no longer forced to stay in abusive relationships for fear of losing their status.

  • Unlike the previous Conservative government, we do not support two-tiered citizenship in this country. That’s why we repealed unfair provisions of the Citizenship Act that treated dual citizens differently than other Canadians. Except where Citizenship is obtained by fraud, a Canadian is a Canadian, is a Canadian!

  • Improving the foreign credential recognition process so that newcomers to Canada are able to put their skills to good use and maximize their contribution to the economy.

Eliminating Conditional Permanent Residence for Spouses

We are no longer requiring sponsored spouses or partners to live with their sponsor for two years in order to keep their permanent resident status.

This measure will protect vulnerable sponsored spouses or partners—often women—who may stay in abusive relationships because they are afraid of losing their permanent resident status in Canada. This change supports our commitment to gender equality and combatting gender based violence.

The elimination of conditional permanent residence recognizes that, while cases of marriage fraud do exist, the majority of relationships are genuine and most applications are made in good faith.

Start up Visa Program

The Start-up Visa Program was launched in 2013 as a five-year pilot. A recent evaluation deterimined that successful applicants through this program had significantly higher language skills and education levels than applicants to the former Entrepreneur Program and have been actively developing innovative companies that are beginning to show positive results.

Our government has therefore decided that this program, a pathway to permanent residence for cutting-edge entrepreneurs launching a start-up company in Canada, will become a regular feature of Canada’s immigration landscape in 2018.

Every company launched in Canada with the help of the Start-up Visa Program has the potential to be a big win for Canadians by providing middle-class jobs in the industries of the innovation economy.

By making the Start-up Visa Program permanent, Canada will attract more innovative entrepreneurs who generate new business opportunities, create jobs and equip Canadians with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

“X” gender designation

All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity, and express their gender as they choose.

By introducing an “X” gender designation as an interim measure in IRCC government-issued documents, our government is taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression.

An “X” will make it easier for people who do not identify as female (“F”) or male (“M”) to acquire passports and other government-issued documents that better reflect their gender identity.

This announcement advances our commitment to LGBTQ2 rights. Earlier in 2017, we also passed Bill C-16, which amended the Canadian Human Rights Act and added gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.