Government Wants More Immigrants Without Language Proficiency, Immigration Minister

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The requirements people must meet before they can become Canadian citizens, such as English or French proficiency, are to be reduced, according to the Canadian government, in order to make it easier for foreigners to obtain citizenship.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said Thursday that the government intended to make changes to the Citizenship Act of Canada:

“We are in general trying to reduce the barriers people have to overcome to become a citizen,” McCallum said in an interview on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

Currently, those wishing to become Canadian citizens must first prove proficiency in either English or French by taking a language test.

While changes the government may make to the language test “have not been announced yet,” McCallum said, the Liberals are “certainly not ditching it.” He did not specify what changes would be made, but did mention reducing the age requirement for language proficiency.

Currently, the age requirement is set at 64. It was raised from 55 in 2014 in an attempt to reduce the number of immigrants who could not communicate in English or French.

The 2014 bill that raised the age for language proficiency were protested by some M.P.s in B.C., such as Sukh Dhaliwal and Jenny Kwan. Some of B.C.s politicians, particularly those in areas where many people speak languages other than English, want the language requirement scrapped altogether.

The immigration minister also said that the government planned to make it impossible to take away Canadian citizenship for any reason.