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Canadian citizenship rejections have more than doubled since 2006

posted Mar 18, 2012, 5:19 PM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Mar 18, 2012, 5:19 PM ]
Published On Thu Mar 15 2012 Toronto Star

The refusal rate of new citizens has more than doubled from 2006 to 2010, when Ottawa raised the pass mark of the citizenship test.

According to federal statistics obtained by the Star, the rejection rate went up from 1.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent in the five-year period.

In 2006, 3,872 people — or 1.4 per cent of those applying for citizenship — were denied.

In March 2010, the federal government launched a new test and raised the passing mark from 60 per cent to 75 per cent. Subsequently, 5,351 — or 3.5 per cent of the applicants — were turned down.

Canada’s citizenship refusals began to rise in 2007, after then Chief Citizenship judge Michel Simard issued a directive to tighten up the enforcement of the “physical presence test.”

Permanent residents must have been in Canada for 1,095 days of the previous four years before they can take the citizenship test. The 20 multiple-choice questions measure their knowledge of Canadian history, culture and values. They also cannot have a criminal history.

As a result of enhanced enforcement, the refusal rate spiked to 2.7 per cent in 2007, with 5,591 people — or 2.7 per cent of the 227,520 applications — rejected. The number of people referred to the citizenship judges also increased by 25 per cent to 16,727.


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