James Metcalfe – Pace Immigration: Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney has become famous  – or infamous, depending on your point of view  – for making changes to the immigration rules enforced by his department. In all my years in the immigration field, I have never seen so many changes than there have been in 2012. Now, he’s done it again, and on this one I think he’s got the right idea.

Kenney has turned his attention to the ability of citizenship applicants’ ability to speak English or French. Effective November this year – the exact date has not been made public – citizenship applicants will have to show objective proof of their ability in one of Canada’s two official languages. This will be in the form of an IELTS English test, a TEF French test, proof that an individual was schooled in English or French, or that the person had undertaken government language training. There will, apparently, be an exception for applicants who are 55 years or older.

I personally believe this is a good move, as it will make the process more objective and standardized across Canada.

Despite a lot of noise emanating from the Minister about wanting to overhaul the Citizenship Act in the face of a high number of fraudulent applications, Mr. Kenney has yet to table a new Act. Perhaps the time is not right. But judging by the way he continues to tinker with procedures, when he does act, the system will be in for an overhaul.

For more on the importance of the English and French requirements, read my next post here.