Immigrants and permanent residents in Canada have the opportunity to become permanent Canadian citizens and enjoy privileges such as the right to vote and to own a Canadian passport.
However, for these individuals to be given full citizenship, they should meet certain requirements set by the federal government. For applicants to be approved, they should:
(1) Be permanent residents.
(2) Be 18 years or older.
(3) Have sufficient knowledge of the English or French language.
(4) Have adequate knowledge about Canada and are familiar with the responsibilities and privileges that come with being a citizen.
(5) Have lived in the country for a minimum of 1095 days during the past 4 years before signing their application. If they have been in Canada before becoming a permanent resident, the daily count will be equivalent to a half day.
(6) Not be considered a security risk and not criminally prohibited.
(7) Not be under order of removal.
(8) Take the oath of citizenship and attend the ceremony.
All of the mentioned requirements have to be fulfilled in order for a person to be approved as a Canadian citizen.
However, while many of the mentioned requirements are easy to check and monitor, some of the requirements are difficult to verify. Thus, they are prone to abuse.
The government is recently investigating cases of fraud, an investigation that started in 2012 when it was found out that many approved citizens did not actually meet the required number of days of stay in Canada prior to their application.
The case is serious and affects as many as 11,000 individuals from as many as 100 countries. In fact, according to records, around 2000 individuals have already canceled and withdrawn their application upon questioning from authorities. Cases of misrepresentation such as this can cause a person to be stripped of his citizenship and to be fined depending on the seriousness of the case.
The guideline pertaining to the required length of time a person should have stayed in Canada prior to application is easily abused because tracking this information can be complicated because of various factors.
For instance, being physically present in Canada as a requirement has been contested many times in cases when a person has to leave the country because of work demands in a Canadian company (i.e. to oversee a project overseas).
Cases like this call for consideration, which make the tracking and counter-checking process more complex. However, with the recent efforts to track down those who have misrepresented this information in their application, the government is expecting to eliminate the problem and punish those who committed the act.