Canada cracks down on Gulf passport seekers

Arab news: A large number of workers and professionals who have applied for Canadian citizenship under a new law will face difficulty coming back to Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, to earn petro dollars after acquiring Canadian passports.
The Canadian government has introduced the new law, which changes the rules for acquiring citizenship and invalidates the passports of terrorists.
“Traditionally, Canada has welcomed immigrants of all nationalities, but now, the Bill C-24 is placing conditions on the issuance of Canadian passports,” said a report released by the Canadian government.
The local Canadian mission justified the move, saying that new policy requirements on Canadian citizenship are in no way aimed at limiting options for individuals to work in the Gulf or any other part of the world.
“The focus is on ensuring that those who become Canadian citizens have established a clear link with Canada by living there for a certain duration prior to being granted citizenship,” Canadian Ambassador Tom MacDonald told Arab News on Monday.
“If someone wants to become a citizen of a country, it is only reasonable that they demonstrate a genuine link to that country,” he added.
MacDonald said Canada takes great pride in being a multicultural country and remains open to new citizens of all backgrounds, “but our citizenship policy is aimed at welcoming those who truly want to become part of Canadian society,” said the envoy, adding that Canada is not there to accommodate individuals who are simply seeking passports of convenience.
The Canadian administration is cracking down on the common practice of staying in the country for a short period of time just to get a Canadian passport and then returning to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to continue working on a GCC work permit.
According to the new rule, those wishing to be permanent residents will have to stay in Canada for at least 1,460 days, including 183 days for tax purposes, and will have to pay Canadian tax.
They will also have to stay in Canada for six years before applying for Canadian citizenship.
The government meanwhile has begun invalidating the passports of Canadians who have left to join extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander revealed in an interview published recently.
The minister told the National Post that his department had also revoked the passports of several Canadians who had not yet left the country, but who had intended to travel to the volatile region to enlist as foreign fighters.
Furthermore, the Canadian government is insisting that applicants pass an English language test and another test assessing knowledge of the country.
There are about 15,000 Canadian passport holders currently living and working in Saudi Arabia.

News Letter