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Friday, April 17, 2009

CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP Laws change effecting Immigration to Canada

Despite an outcry from expatriates, an amendment to Canada's citizenship laws took effect Friday denying automatic citizenship to the grandchildren of Canadians born abroad. Canadian Parliament passed the Canadian Immigration bill last year in order to ensure that non-residents with little or no connection to Canada are not able to pass on Canadian citizenship infinitely, said immigration officials.

"We're limiting citizenship to the first generation of Canadians born abroad to create an appreciation for the value of Canadian citizenship," immigration spokeswoman Danielle Norris told AFP.

The Canadian citizenship law was amended partly in response to a mass evacuation of thousands of Canadians living in Lebanon, after Israel attacked in 2006, she said. Many of the Lebanese-born Canadian nationals rescued had little or no real ties to Canada.

If a Canadian born in Canada but living abroad has a child in a foreign country, that child would still automatically be granted Canadian citizenship. But the child's offspring, if also born abroad, would not.

An estimated hundreds of thousands Canadians currently living abroad could be affected by the Canadian citizenship amendment, the immigration department said.

Many Canadians considering having children while living in a foreign country decried the bill when it was proposed almost a year ago as yet another complication to working abroad and having a family.

"This law makes one more barrier for women trying to work in international development (and) international careers," Katherine Hay, a Canadian working and living in New Delhi, told the daily Globe and Mail.

"To get around this law or prevent negative ramifications, it would mean more costs to organizations to send women back, more lost time to working mothers, disruptions of work (and) family life," she said.

Another Canadian born in Britain to a Canadian mother, who lived part of her life in Canada, but eventually settled in Nigeria, lamented she would have to return to Canada to have babies.

And her Nigerian husband may not be able to attend the birth in Canada, she said.

If she stayed in Nigeria, her children would have to apply to immigrate to Canada uner the new Canadian citizenship laws.

Canada's first citizenship law was enacted in 1947.

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