Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is proposing that current Canadian visa holders should be proficient in either French or English- the two official languages, to obtain Canadian citizenship. He stated that too many citizens don’t speak either language and that should never have happened. With these new requirements that will not happen any longer.
Proficiency in either English of French is required under the current system but objective testing is not being enforced. Right now, the system assesses the applicants’ language ability by their interaction with CIC staff and the Canadian citizenship test. If they fail this process, they are invited for an interview with a citizenship judge.
“Some people, believe it or not, have been able to take translators with them into an oral test, with citizenship judges,” Mr. Kenney said. “What’s the point, exactly?”
The government is considering some new requirements for Canadian citizenship
The government is not going to increase the proficiency level in either language, but it is going to adjust how citizenship applicants have to proof their language ability. Basically applicants have to demonstrate their language ability at the time of their application by validating some new requirements:
– Prospective citizens have completed high school English or French
– Enforcing objective third party language testing
– Immigrants would be required to take an oral speaking and listening exam as well as the written test that is a current requirement for obtaining Canadian citizenship
NDP immigration critic Don Davies has a good point when he says, “We have to be somewhat careful about this because there are some categories of obtaining Canadian citizenship where requiring too high a standard could present a barrier, such as sponsored parents.”
In our opinion, these newly proposed requirements seem to make a lot of sense. If prospective citizens are proficient in one of our official languages then they would most likely feel a greater sense of belonging. They would be able to communicate and connect with a larger network of people. Immigrants who don’t speak English or French often feel isolated. Speaking one of the two official languages could potentially lead to better job options as well.
Evaluating citizenship candidates language ability right from the start would also stream line the application process for everyone, saving time and energy, and reducing potential delays in the applications.
This new proposal might very well improve the effectiveness and integrity of the Canadian citizenship program.
What is your opinion?
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