As per the study conducted by Statistics Canada, the recent policy reforms in Canada immigration can help improvise naturalization rates by 2024. As past policy changes done in the past decade largely impacted the naturalization rates.
According to Statistics Canada’s findings, in 2016, the citizenship acquisition was 86% in comparison to that of 82 percent in 1991.
In 1996, approximately 68% of permanent residents who had lived in Canada for more than five years became citizens, but this number fell to only 43% by the year 2016. Those immigrants who are in low language proficiency, income, and education level have experienced the greatest drop in naturalization.
But, in comparison to the past decade, Canada has considerably increased its standards for economic class selection. These selection criteria would directly mean that more and more newcomers with higher language proficiency levels will be welcomed by Canada. Family class immigrants to have similar socio-economic characteristics as of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who sponsor them. This also means that higher selection standards for the economic class will result in welcoming the large number of family class immigrants who will arrive in Canada with high human capital.
Other key culprits behind lower naturalization rates were the introduction of new language proficiency requirements, a new citizenship exam and a rise in citizenship application fee up to $630 per person. Earlier the age group which was eligible to demonstrate their language ability was 14 to 64, which was reduced to 18 and 54 in 2017, the citizenship test requirement was also increased up to 75% passing marks, which was 60% earlier.
Such strict rules and regulations and hike in fee amount made it difficult for those older immigrants with had low language skills, education level, and income to apply for citizenship.
Thus, reducing language tests and citizenship exam requirements for people aging between 18 to 54 years will help in improvising the citizenship rates.
As per the forecast of the Liberal campaign platform, they are planning to allocate $110 million funds in processing citizenship applications in 2023-2024 in comparison to only $75 million funds to be allocated over the coming fiscal year.
With this 40% rise in the expenditure indicates the government is expecting an equal percentage of hike in new citizens by the end of the year 2024, i.e. up to 40%.
If everything goes as planned, then Canada will soon recover from its ever-declining naturalization rate among new immigrants.
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