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2005-10

CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION MINISTER JOE VOLPE ANNOUNCES NEW MEASURES TO IMPROVE THE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION PROCESS

OTTAWA, April 18, 2005 — The Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced an investment of $69 million over two years to process citizenship applications faster. He also announced that citizenship applicants will now be exempted from undergoing language ability and knowledge-of-Canada tests at 55 rather than 60 years of age.

“Language and knowledge requirements are common in countries with naturalization programs, like the United States and Australia. Both of these countries also automatically waive certain requirements depending on the age of the applicant and the length of time spent in the country. By lowering the age for automatic waivers to 55, Canada’s policy will now be comparable to that of the United States and Australia,” said Minister Volpe.

This policy change means that more citizenship applicants will be able to obtain automatic waivers to become citizens of Canada. Today’s changes in no way reduce the rigorous security screening requirements that all applicants for Canadian citizenship must go through before becoming citizens of Canada.

“The $69 million will allow us to restore, by 2007–2008, the processing times to an average of 12 months for a grant of citizenship and four months for a proof of citizenship,” said the Minister. “This will be accomplished by directing additional resources to reducing the current high inventory of files and in enhancing technology to modernize processing and increase productivity.”

Many clients currently download their applications from the Internet and check on the progress of their file on-line. CIC will be making further use of technology to add more on-line services and to modernize other internal processes within the Department.

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For more information (media only):

Stephen Heckbert
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
(613) 954-1064

Maria Iadinardi
Media Relations
Communications Branch
(613) 952-0740