Canada to relax citizenship process for international students

Legislation will allow overseas students to include time spent studying in Canada in application

March 4, 2016
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The Canadian government has announced amendments to legislation that will make it easier for international students to become permanent residents.

The legislation will repeal a number of changes that were made to the Canadian Immigration Act under the previous Conservative government and were passed into law in June 2015.

The previous changes to Bill C-24 increased the residency requirement from three years to four and eliminated a special provision that allowed half the time spent in Canada on a work or study visa to be counted when applying for citizenship.

However, the new bill, titled “An Act to amend the Citizenship Act”, will reduce the number of days during which a person must have been physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship from four out of the previous six years to three out of the previous five.

It also restores the 50 per cent credit for time spent in Canada by international students.

Speaking on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics programme, immigration minister John McCallum said that the “dumbest” part of the previous legislation was “taking away the 50 per cent credit for international students”.

“If there’s any group in this country who would be good Canadians – they’re educated, they know about this country, they speak English or French – it’s them. So why punch them in the nose when we’re trying to attract them here in competition with Australia, the UK and others?”

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