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Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal wants people older than 55 years old to become Canadian citizens without taking the language proficiency test

B.C. MPs call for change to immigration language requirements

Some MPs say the test prevents many otherwise deserving immigrants from becoming Canadian citizens

By The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: Feb 12, 2016 2:22 PM PT Last Updated: Feb 12, 2016 4:48 PM PT

Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal is calling on the federal government to allow people older than 55 years old to become Canadian citizens without taking the language proficiency test.

Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal is calling on the federal government to allow people older than 55 years old to become Canadian citizens without taking the language proficiency test. ((Sukh Dhaliwal))

Several BC MPs are calling on the federal government to ease restrictions on the English or French language proficiency test new immigrants must pass in order to become Canadian citizens.

The Conservative government passed Bill C-24 or the Strengthening of Canadian Citizenship Act in 2014, making the language test more difficult. It also expanded the age range of people required to take the test, to 65-years old, up from 55.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to repeal the bill, which also allows the government to strip Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism-related offences.

Deserving immigrants

One Vancouver MP says the test prevents many otherwise deserving immigrants from becoming Canadian citizens.

Jenny Kwan

NDP MP Jenny Kwan says the language proficiency test unfairly prevents some hardworking immigrants from becoming Canadian citizens. (CBC)

“I’ve come across a lot of people who said to me they’ve written the test and they cannot pass it, three or four times,” said Jenny Kwan, NDP MP for Vancouver-East.

“They study for it. They train for it, and in spite of that, they can’t pass the test — to the point where they are so discouraged they say, I’m not going to try.”

Kwan, whose parents immigrated to Canada, says her mother would not have passed the language proficiency test, but she became a contributing member of society nonetheless.

“She did learn some English, enough to get her into a minimum age job to which she worked until she retired at 65.”

(…)

 

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