Canada is known for its welcoming attitude toward immigrants. The country has set a goal to welcome more than 1.45 million new immigrants across its immigration streams over the next three years. The reason behind this is not only to strengthen the economy but also to improve the country’s demography and culture. The Canadian government hopes to integrate these newcomers as permanent residents, and eventually as citizens who have strong ties and vested interests in Canada’s development and growth.
As a country made up largely of immigrants, it is important to learn where the Canadians of tomorrow hail from, particularly with the newest immigration targets. The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) yields some interesting insights into this question.
In 2022, 374,554 permanent residents became Canadian citizens, a significant increase from 2021, which saw just over a third of that number (137,079) transition to citizens. This is a good sign that Canada’s immigration system is returning to normal functioning and addressing domestic needs as required.
The top three birth countries of permanent residents who transitioned to Canadian citizens in 2022 were India, the Philippines, and Syria, respectively. India has been the top source of new Canadian citizens for two consecutive years. The top ten source countries of Canadian citizens have remained relatively stable over the last four years, with some countries shifting in order. Syria has seen significant growth in the number of permanent residents who have transitioned to Canadian citizens in recent years, while Pakistan has replaced the People’s Republic of China as the fourth most popular country of birth among new Canadian citizens.
To become a Canadian citizen as a permanent resident, one must meet several eligibility criteria. Firstly, one must be a permanent resident of Canada and file taxes if necessary. Secondly, one must pass a Canadian citizenship test (if between the ages of 18-54) and prove language skills (if between the ages of 18-54). Thirdly, one must meet Canada’s physical presence requirements. If all other factors are met, a PR applying for citizenship must have spent at least three of the last five years (1,095 days) physically in Canada to be eligible for citizenship (unless under exceptional circumstances).
Individuals who have resided in Canada as temporary residents or protected persons can include each day spent in Canada under this status as half a day towards fulfilling the physical presence requirement. However, there is a limit of 365 eligible days towards meeting the physical presence requirement. Moreover, if minors under 18 years of age are applying, they must still be permanent residents, but they can waive the physical presence requirement.