Canada To Allow Applicants To Skip The Citizenship Oath-Taking Ceremony
People receiving Canadian citizenship might get the option of skipping the citizenship ceremony soon. Instead, they would be able to take their oath online since Ottawa wants to reduce processing times for citizenship applications.
The Federal government has asked for the public’s feedback on proposed changes to the citizenship regulations of Canada. These amendments would enable applicants to take the Oath of Citizenship online without the supervision of an authorized official.
A policy analysis statement in the Canada Gazette stated that the option to take the citizenship oath online without an official’s supervision would reduce the processing time by three months. This means that citizenship applicants would have their applications approved much faster.
Plus, self-administered citizenship oaths have the potential to make the applicants’ lives more convenient since citizenship ceremonies take place during work hours and last for 90 minutes.
It is safe to say that many applicants have to skip work or take some time off to attend citizenship ceremonies without getting compensated by their employers.
Moreover, the recommended option can help improve client service and promote inclusivity since approved applicants can take the Oath of Citizenship at any time within the allocated period.
The Oath of Citizenship ceremony continues to be the final step in an applicant’s naturalization as a Canadian citizen since 1947. The ceremony requires the new citizen to pledge allegiance to the King, his heirs, and successors while promising to abide by Canadian laws in the presence of a citizenship judge.
At the start of COVID-19 in 2020, Canada began holding virtual citizenship ceremonies through video conferencing.
However, in October 2022, 358000 citizenship applications were in the backlog, according to the reports, with a processing time of 24 months.
What’s important to note here is that the government will not make self-administered oaths mandatory according to the proposal. Approved citizenship applicants would still be able to opt for the Oath of Citizenship ceremony in the presence of a judge through video conferencing or in person.
Regardless, some people oppose this proposal, including Christopher Alexander, former minister of citizenship and immigration.
Christopher Alexander recently tweeted that the government is putting Canada’s democratic institutions, national defence, the rule of law, and national security at risk by eliminating the traditional way of taking the citizenship oath.
On the other hand, Steven Meurrens, an immigration lawyer in Vancouver, believes that self-administered online oaths are favourable if they can reduce the processing time. He thinks this option will be particularly beneficial for permanent resident card holders who will soon lose their status. He also suggested that applicants should be free to choose between the traditional way of taking the citizenship oath and the newly proposed one.
The proposal is likely to be effective from June 2023 when approved. The public is free to give feedback through the Canada Gazette website before the consultation period ends on 27 March.
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