Canadian Dreams Realized: The Remarkable Journey of 300,000 New Citizens in 2023

According to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the year 2023 saw a significant increase in Canadian citizenship grants, with over 354,000 individuals obtaining citizenship, surpassing 3,000 citizenship applications processed within the country. This marked a notable rise compared to 2022, when 375,413 individuals became Canadian citizens, highlighting a significant uptick in naturalization trends compared to the preceding two years. For perspective, 2019 witnessed 250,513 new Canadian citizens, followed by 110,989 in 2020, and 137,133 in 2021.

Efforts to Reduce Citizenship Backlog by IRCC:

IRCC has been actively working towards processing 80% of citizenship applications within their service standards. In January 2022, the citizenship application backlog was approximately 46%. By November 2023, this backlog was reduced to 20%, aligning with IRCC’s target. This reduction was achieved through several measures, including:

1. Launching an online platform for citizenship test completion.
2. Introducing virtual citizenship ceremonies.
3. Implementing online application processes for citizenship applications, proof of citizenship, and citizenship record searches.
4. Developing an online citizenship application tracker for applicants to monitor their application status and required steps.
5. Hiring additional staff to expedite processing across various services.

Pathway from Permanent Residency to Citizenship:
To transition from permanent residency to Canadian citizenship, applicants must meet specific criteria. Eligibility requirements for permanent residents include:

– Being a permanent resident in Canada.
– Filing taxes, if required.
– Passing a Canadian citizenship test (for ages 18-54).
– Demonstrating language proficiency (for ages 18-54).
– Fulfilling physical presence requirements in Canada.

Permanent residents can apply for citizenship after physically residing in Canada for three years (1,095 days) within the five years immediately before the application. The calculation considers:

– Each day as a permanent resident counts as a full day.
– Days spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person count as half-days towards the physical presence requirement, up to a maximum of 365 days.
– The calculation period starts from the date of becoming a permanent resident if it was five years prior to the application.
– Time spent serving a sentence in Canada does not count towards the physical presence requirement.

Benefits of Canadian Citizenship:

Unlike permanent residents, Canadian citizens are not subject to residency obligations. They also receive Canadian passports and are eligible to vote in federal, provincial, and municipal elections. Canadian citizenship, once obtained, is secure unless it was acquired through misrepresentation.

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