Immigration Canada News: Improving Processing Times, Welcoming More New Citizens

Government’s changes to the Citizenship Act mean deserving applicants becoming citizens faster

October 16, 2014 — Scarborough, ON — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced that more than 200,000 people have joined the Canadian family since the start of 2014. The Minister also announced that the citizenship backlog has been reduced by 13 percent since June to its lowest level since spring 2012. These achievements are among the direct results of the government’s recent changes to citizenship processing.

Nearly 50,000 people have become Canadian citizens since a new decision-making process came into effect on August 1, 2014. That is a 172 percent increase from the same time period last year.

Recent reforms have also allowed decision-making officers to make progress on the backlog of so-called “non-routine” cases, including ones where residency questions persist. Almost half of all cases in which a residency questionnaire (RQ) was issued prior to November 2013 have been resolved with the applicants receiving their citizenship. Thousands more applicants who had been issued RQs are about to write their tests. These files will be evaluated by a record number of decision makers with the onus on applicants to prove they meet the requirements.

The Tzu Chi Foundation hosted the ceremony attended by the Minister during which more than 100 people took the Oath of Citizenship. It is one of 85 ceremonies across the country taking place during Citizenship Week 2014.

Quick facts

  • Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in its history—an average of one quarter-million newcomers each year.
  • Since 2006, Canada has welcomed more than 1,500,000 proud new Canadians.
  • Changes to the Citizenship Act received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014. These changes are helping to improve efficiency while also strengthening integrity of the citizenship program.
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada remains on track to bring citizenship processing times to less than one year in 2015-2016.

“Our government’s recent changes to the Citizenship Act mean deserving new citizens are welcomed to the Canadian family more quickly. Because of our efforts, backlogs are reduced, processing times are improved and more new Canadians are forming a stronger connection to our country.” Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

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