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The remaining revisions to Canada's Citizenship laws came into force on June 11, 2015. Last year the government introduced Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act which introduced many changes to the citizenship application process. However, many of those were not implemented until just recently. Most significantly the eligibility period for citizenship has increased and residency requirements have been defined to a strict physical presence in Canada. Prospective citizens must also be resident in Canada for tax purposes and demonstrate that they meet their personal income tax obligations.

One of the greyest areas of immigration law is the concept of the business visitor. The business visitor is not coming for tourism nor are they necessarily a worker performing services in Canada. A business visitor is simply a visitor who is temporarily coming to Canada for a business purpose. A business visitor is granted entry to Canada or the same basis as any other visitor other than they have a business reason for their entry. Let's examine the business visitor criteria more closely.

Canada's new immigrant selection system for economic immigrants, Express Entry came into effect on January 1, 2015 and has dramatically changed our immigration program. What used to be an immigrant driven self selection model is now a government driven selection model. The government will only choose the very best applicants and offer them an "invitation to apply" - an ITA. Without an ITA, a prospective immigrant can not apply for permanent residence to Canada. The basis upon which Citizenship and Immigration Canada ( CIC) selects which applicants to provide with an ITA, is the information contained in a profile that a potential applicant submits to the government. The higher the score an applicant receives on the ranking of their profile, the more likely they will receive an ITA. Obviously, the temptation to enhance one's profile is very real. Resist that temptation! Inaccurate information that is provided in your profile could result in a finding of misrepresentation and a five year bar to ANY application to Canada - permanent or temporary!

2015 promises to be a banner year for Canada's immigration program with dramatic changes in virtually every aspect of program delivery: selection of skilled immigrants, processing of inland spousal applicants, and new criteria for both business immigration and citizenship applicants. Here are the highlights of the many changes in Canada's immigration program in store for the year ahead:

The new Express Entry program is going to completely transform Canada’s Immigration Program. Historically Canada's economic immigration program was an applicant driven responsive program. Individuals who decided that they wanted to immigrate to Canada, submitted an application and the government was bound to consider and assess that application. The number of applications received was always far greater than the number of applications that the government could process and over time a considerable backlog developed of Skilled Worker, Entrepreneur and Investor applicants which ultimately led to the suspension of these categories. The Skilled Worker program was eventually re-opened in 2013 with significant changes but the Investor and Entrepreneur categories have been formally terminated. In order to avoid future backlogs the government has devised a new program entitled Express Entry which is still in the process of being finalized. However, recent Ministers of Immigration have been publicizing CIC's newest immigration model which is set to be introduced by January 2015.

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