Effective May 28, 2015, legislation was introduced to amend the Citizenship Act. The amendments have modified the process by which the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration can revoke an individual’s Canadian citizenship. Under the old laws, citizenship could be revoked for various reasons. For instance, if citizenship was obtained using fraud, misrepresentations or knowingly concealing information that would be considered material, citizenship could be revoked. Under the new law, citizenship can also be revoked if a person was convicted of terrorism, spying offenses, high treason or serving with the armed forces of another country that Canada is at war with.
Under the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, the government has now been empowered with new grounds by which citizenship can be revoked. There is also now a streamlined revocation process that has been introduced. Under the old rules, revocation would generally follow three steps, which would include the Minister, the Federal Court, and the Governor in Council. Under the new process, decision-making is now allocated to two streams. Firstly, the vast majority of cases will now be decided by the Minister. More complex cases, however, will be decided by the Federal government.
Once revocation proceedings are underway, the person who is the subject of the proceeding retains all rights and privileges of a Canadian citizen until such time his or her Canadian citizenship is revoked. Under the new rules, a person citizenship is revoked on the date that either the minister’s decision is made or the date at which a declaration is made by the federal court. While some cases will still require a decision from the Gov. in Council, a person citizenship is revoked on the date made of the Order in Council.
Your status post revocation will depend on various factors. For instance, if a person is a dual citizen and the person’s Canadian citizenship has been revoked due to convictions relating to terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offenses and depending on the sentence received, the person will become a foreign national. If the person citizenship was revoked due to false representations or fraud or concealing material circumstances during the citizenship process, then that person may become a permanent resident in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. If citizenship was revoked on the grounds that they became a permanent resident based on false representations, fraud or knowingly concealing material information, then that person status will revert to foreign national status.
A person may also be declared inadmissible and be subject to a removal order if they used false representations or fraud or concealment of material circumstances that would jeopardize the national security of Canada, violate human or international rights, or if the person is involved in organized crime.
In order to revoke a person citizenship, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will review the reasons for revocation. The appropriate government body will then consider this information after conducting an reviewing internal investigation. The Minister will be required to have a sufficient evidentiary basis for proceeding. If there is sufficient evidence, the person will be notified that there are reasons to believe that his or her citizenship should be revoked and the Minister will then provide the evidence upon which they intend rely. Upon receipt of this information, the person will have the opportunity to make submissions as to why citizenship should not be revoked. If however citizenship is revoked, an appeal to the Federal Court can be launched.
The impact of revocation on future citizenship applications cannot be understated. Any person who has had their citizenship revoked for misrepresentation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances, will be required to wait 10 years from the date of revocation before he or she can reapply for citizenship. One citizenship has been revoked, the person cannot apply for resumption of citizenship and he or she must meet all the requirements contained under the Citizenship Act. If citizenship has been revoked as a result of a conviction for terrorism, high treason, treason, spying related offenses or being a member of the armed forces of another country or being a member of an organized group engaged in armed conflict against Canada, then that person will be permanently barred from being granted citizenship.
The process of responding to revocation proceeding is complex and should be dealt with by a competent lawyer. At Preszler Immigration Lawyers, we have lawyers with extensive experience dealing with such proceedings and will be able to assess the merits of the Minister’s case. Call us today to request a consultation at 1-800-CITIZEN. Don’t wait until it is too late!