Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is currently seeing a decrease in overall processing times for Canadian citizenship applications.
The federal government’s Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, approved by parliament in June 2014, seems to have had a positive effect on the processing times of citizenship applications.
The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, commonly known as Bill C-24, reformed a number of aspects of Canada’s immigration regime. The new law made citizenship more difficult to obtain, increasing the required wait time for permanent residents applying for citizenship, and makes citizenship easier to lose for dual citizens.
The act also streamlined the evaluation procedure and appeals process for citizenship applications. The streamlined procedure for citizenship applications has led to the decreasing processing times currently being observed by the Government of Canada.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that backlogged citizenship applications have now reached their lowest levels in more than two years. CIC is expecting that processing times will be further reduced to under a year by 2015/2016, and 80% of the current backlog is expected to be eliminated by this date as well.
Currently, applications for immigration programs are not yet seeing the same shrinking processing times as citizenship applications. Processing times for some programs, notably the spousal sponsorship program, have seen wait times grow significantly in the past year.
Fortunately, the introduction of the new Express Entry program in January 2015 is expected to significantly decrease processing times for applications to Canada’s most popular immigration programs, bringing processing times in line with and below the current processing times for citizenship applications.
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