Major Increase in Failure Rates of Canadian Citizenship Exams Baffles the Federal Government


A major increase in the failure rates of citizenship exams among landed immigrants has caused some distress. Last year, on March 28th and July 23rd , Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced new and harder tests. Since then, the rate of unsuccessful candidates has significantly increased.

A serious success gap between candidates applying for immigration through different streams is becoming increasingly apparent. Individuals applying under the family sponsorship—mothers, fathers, children and grandparents of recent immigrants—are being affected the most. This is believed to be due to applicants in this category having a lower level of education. As these applicants are immigrating to Canada in order to be reunited with family, they are not expected to significantly stimulate the economy, unlike candidates applying under the economic streams or skilled worker class.

Yet, decreased success rates have become evident across the board. Individuals with bachelor’s degrees’ success rate fell from 95% to 87%. At the same time, individuals who only had a high school education experienced a decreased success rate from 70% to 55%.

To address this situation, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, has announced that candidates will be able to re-write tests within a week, rather than having to endure the typical several month to two years wait. Moreover, multiple steps are being taken to improve the process and allow more candidates to obtain their Canadian Citizenship faster.

“The citizenship test assesses how well applicants understand Canadian values and what it means to be Canadian,” explains spokesperson Whitney Punchak. “The test questions are based on the content in the new study guide, Discover Canada, including a broader focus on Canada’s history, identity and values. Our aim is for new citizens to learn and understand the concepts presented in this guide.”

Presently, there is a performance gap in the success rate of the citizenship that should be remedied by the ministry. Yet, it is also necessary for candidates to prepare properly for the exam. Applicants may have to take the citizenship exam more seriously, especially if they experience a greater challenge when English or French is not their first language. At the moment, there are several resources for applicants to best prepare for the exam, such as online practice tests offered by the Canadian government.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration, follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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