by Marjorie Carmona Newman, ABS-CBN News
Byron Andrada entered Canada September 2014 as a permanent resident.
With recent changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act, he will be eligible to apply for citizenship this coming September.
“Happy ako sa mga changes na nangyayari sa citizenship rules lalo na yong binaba ngayong taon from 6 years to dapat four years. Ginawa na lang nilang 3 out of 5 years. Maganda sa akin yun lalo na sa kalagayan ko as permanent resident, so this coming September pwede na akong mag apply.”
Bill C-6, otherwise known as an act to amend the Canadian citizenship, has just been approved. But despite shorter residency requirements for permanent residents, some kababayans are still not happy because the processing fee remains unchanged.
In the meantime, it is still good news for temporary foreign workers like Ramon Sabellano, who entered Canada in 2011.
Even temporary status in Canada will now be counted towards physical requirements for citizenship application.
“I am glad with the changes of citizenship law; it is because I can use my stay here before, because I have more than one and a half year as a contract worker, so I can use that now,” said Sabellano. “But the problem is the fee which costs $630.00, which is for me still expensive. I hope and pray that the government will reduce the fee.”
Applicants who spent time in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident, such as on a work or a study permit, may count each day as a half-day toward meeting the physical requirement for citizenship.
In addition, applicants who are 18 to 54 years old must meet the language requirement and pass the citizenship test.
These changes in the Citizenship Act are expected to take effect in Fall 2017.
Under the new law, minors are now allowed to apply for citizenship without assistance from their parents. Previously, parents and children are treated as one unit when applying.
This change took effect last June 19, 2016.
As a result of bill C-6, permanent residents in Canada will be able to apply for Canadian citizenship earlier and more easily than before.