Canadian Citizenship Reform and Tighter Immigration Consultant Regulation

By Author: Admin | June 14, 2010

The Immigration Minister for Canada announced tighter control over the issuance of Canadian citizenship.  He intends to make the residency requirement for citizenship for Canada three years out of four.  This may not sound different from what is in a current criteria mentioned by Citizenship Canada.  What is different is that the current official criterion of three out of four years is not always applied.  Rather, is also another more subjective test in the Federal court case of Re Koo which contains the following criteria:


was the individual physically present in Canada for a long period prior to recent absences which occurred immediately before the application for citizenship?


where are the applicant’s immediate family and dependants (and extended family) resident?


does the pattern of physical presence in Canada indicate a returning home or merely visiting the country?


what is the extent of the physical absences-if an applicant is only a few days short of the 1,095 day total, it is easier to find deemed residence than if those absences are extensive?


is the physical absence caused by a clearly temporary situation such as employment as a missionary abroad, following a course of study abroad as a student, accepting temporary employment abroad, accompanying a spouse who has accepted temporary employment abroad?


what is the quality of the connection with Canada: is it more substantial than that which exists with any other country?

The proposed changes would eliminate the above criteria and thus make citizenship judges more like grade nine calculator holders, reviewing evidence about how many days a person has lived inside and outside of Canada.  This strict physical presence test may deter some immigrants from immigrating to Canada, particularly those with international business interests that require their personal attention.  The Australians have a less onerous two out of five year physical presence test, while that of the USA is 2 ½ out of five years.   The proposal did not include any exemption such as for those who pursue a career in humanitarian work outside of Canada (e.g. at the UN or other such organizations).

Other reforms would include outlawing of ‘citizenship consultants’ unless they have a licence (currently there is a loophole which allows non-lawyers and non-licenced immigration consultants to assist in Canadian citizenship applications).  I talked about such abuses in the citizenship system earlier in the year.

Tighter Immigration Consultant Regulation:

Canada’s immigration Minister just can’t stop proposing laws, in contrast to the last few immigration Ministers from both the Liberals and Conservatives.  Minister Kenney is also proposing legislation to crack down on crooked immigration consultants.  The name of the proposed legislation is the apparently hip-hop inspired “Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act”. One of the proposed sections is as follows:

91. (1) Subject to this section, no person shall knowingly represent or advise a person for consideration — or offer to do so — in connection with a proceeding or application under this Act.

The above is an improvement over the current law which says nothing about giving advice (the current law is only concerned with people who put themselves forward as representatives of a client before the immigration department).  On the other hand, this still allows for friends (i.e. those who allegedly receive no money) to give advice.  I have a feeling there is going to be a lot persons seeking immigration assistance who have ‘friends’ prepare immigration forms for them.

The announcement also appears to signal a loss of confidence on the Minister’s part in CSIC which only disciplined three of its members for professional misconduct since its inception..

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I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am an accomplished author and lecturer and am consulted by the media and other immigration lawyers and consultants on immigration matters and challenging immigration cases, appeals, and federal court matters.

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