Looking Again At Changes to Canada’s Citizenship Act

looking-again-at-changes-to-canadas-citizenship-actAn announcement that was first made a few months ago is beginning to have a ripple affect in the lives of many Canadian expatriates (and their children). The news that the Conservative Government revised the Citizenship Act were met with concern and outright anger in some cases.

The core changes are those of citizenship status for the children of expatriates living abroad. For many Canadian expats, the complicated circumstances of their current living arrangements become more so in the event they have children while living outside the country.

Under the new provisions of the Citizenship Act, if an expat woman gets pregnant abroad, she must return to Canada to give birth or else the child will not be considered a citizen. In some cases, this could leave the child without any citizenship, depending upon the laws of individual countries. Additionally, the woman would need to apply for a ministerial permit in order for her newborn child to have the appropriate travel documents or even provisional citizenship.

The law states that a child must live in Canada for at least three years prior to his or her twenty-third birthday and undergo the same application process, as any immigrant would require. Only then will the child be granted full citizenship.

The number of loopholes and odd circumstances that characterize individual cases for many Canadian expats is so absurd it could be laughable. Certain circumstances would allow some expats to get around the new provisions. The children of military and diplomats born in other countries are automatically afforded full citizenship in Canada.

This change is making many Canadians stop to think about the implications for their children. It is a disturbing prospect to consider one’s children carrying restrictions on their citizenship for the sole reason of being born outside Canada. There is nothing that can be done to change this status. Such expat children would be permanently limited as far as their mobility and any opportunities as adults. Furthermore, it would affect any decisions they would make for their own children since there would be a threat to their citizenship.