The Canadian government has introduced legislation that would extend citizenship by descent beyond the first generation.

Key Points:

  • The proposed policy update would automatically confer Canadian citizenship to persons born abroad to a Canadian parent who is also born abroad.
  • This legislation would also extend a direct grant of citizenship to children born abroad and adopted by a Canadian parent beyond the first generation. Parents born abroad who have or adopt children also born outside Canada will need to have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 cumulative days prior to the birth or adoption of their child to qualify.
  • Bill C-71 aims to provide citizenship to anyone born abroad to a Canadian parent and the descendants of “Lost Canadians” — individuals who lost or never acquired citizenship as a result of outdated provisions of previous citizenship legislation.
  • The bill must pass in Parliament and receive royal assent before entering into force.

Background: The Ontario Superior Court of Justice declared section 8 of the Canadian Citizenship Act unconstitutional, also known as the “second-generation cut-off” rule on Dec.19, 2023. As of June 19, 2024, it will no longer be in force, and the new criteria will open a pathway to citizenship for many individuals previously barred by the 2009 amendments implementing the second-generation cut-off.

BAL Analysis: The Canadian government stated that the new legislation is key to ensuring the integration of immigrants within the country and creating a more inclusive citizenship policy. BAL will continue to monitor the bill passage and will provide more information as it becomes available for guidance on the application process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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