Eighty-two new citizens from over 30 different countries were sworn in as Canadians during a Citizenship Ceremony at the Edmonton Heritage Festival in Hawrelak Park, Monday Aug. 6, 2012. (QMI Agency/DAVID BLOOM)
OTTAWA - Hundreds of thousands of people come to Canada as immigrants every year, but fewer are actually becoming citizens.
Internal Citizenship and Immigration documents obtained through an access to information request show only 2.9% of immigrants who gained permanent residency in Canada in 2008 had actually become citizens by the time they were generally eligible to apply in 2012.
That’s a massive drop from 2005, when 76% of those who’d arrived in Canada four years earlier had become citizens.
Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said the steady decline is partly because new permanent residency cards and rules introduced in 2002 require immigrants to prove their physical presence in Canada in order to retain permanent residency.