There have been significant changes to the Citizenship Act that make it easier for permanent residents to qualify for citizenship while at the same time creating regulations that are critical to enable the government to reach its immigration goals. According to Matthew Jeffery, a renowned immigration lawyer in Toronto, the Citizenship Act amendments have gotten rid of difficult standards combined with high application fees that made it harder for permanent residents to apply for citizenship let alone qualify. In 2014, amendments to the Citizenship Act placed stringent standards such as a residency requirement of 4 years together with a difficult language requirement that permanent residents aged 14 and 64 could not fulfill.
In June 19 ,2017 a bill was passed that led to change in regulations which will affect thousands of permanent residents in Canada who are looking to apply for citizenship. After passing of the bill, permanent residents need not show the intention to live in Canada as a requirement in order for their citizenship application to be approved. The residency requirement was also lowered to three years out of a five-year period. The requirement for permanent residents to pay income taxes has still been upheld. One will still be required to fill income tax returns in at least three years out of five in order to be granted citizenship.
Permanent residents who have always wanted to apply for citizenship but shy away due to the strict rules can now start working on a fresh application with the help of a qualified immigration lawyer. In fact, Matthew Jeffery anticipates a flood of immigration applications following the changes to the Citizenship Act since more people can now qualify to be granted citizenship. Furthermore, changes were made to ensure citizenship revocation will only be done in limited circumstances and only after due process is followed.