Pre-PR Time Counts – C-24 Statement – May 7

Immigration Committee Speech v5.docx

Pre-PR Time Counts

Represented by Taisia Shcherbakova & Maria Smirnoff

INTRODUCTION

Dear honorary members of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration:

We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to make selected comments about section 3(1) of the Bill which eliminates section 5(1)(c)(i) of the current Citizenship Act by taking away pre-permanent-resident time-counting toward eligible applicants’ citizenship requirement. That is the purpose of our appearance.

First, I would like to introduce myself and my colleague. My name is Taisia Shcherbakova. I originally came to Canada in 2004, and in the last 10 years have graduated from Carleton University and now work as a Software Product Manager for a global IT company. I am currently a Permanent Resident. And, under the current citizenship and immigration law, I will be eligible to apply for citizenship in just under 100 days.

I am here together with Maria Smirnoff, who is a Canadian citizen since 1998. As someone who works in the area of workforce skills development, she is keenly aware of Canada’s need to attract international students and skilled immigrants, if our country is to remain economically competitive.

Together we represent a large group of individuals who are concerned with the provision in the proposed Bill C-24 that eliminates the ability for former international students and temporary foreign workers to count time spent in Canada on a temporary basis towards their citizenship residency requirement.

Our group, Pre-PR Time Counts, has received extensive support by thousands of Canadians through our online petition, as well as vast media coverage.

BODY

We take this opportunity to bring up our group’s concern with section 3 (1) of the Bill which eliminates 5(1)(c)(i) – the pre-PR clause – from the current Citizenship Act. This provision is especially troublesome in context of the proposal to increase the overall residency requirement from 3 out of 4 years, to 4 out of 6 years.

The proposed legislation concerns us as a group in the following 3 ways:

  1. By taking away the ability to count pre-PR time, it diminishes the value of economic and social contributions made to Canada by international students and temporary workers
  2. This legislation actually favours immigrants without Canadian experience

3. Eliminating pre-PR time puts Canada at a competitive disadvantage relative to its peer countries

Let us now elaborate on each of these 3 points:

POINT ONE

First, the proposed Bill TAKES AWAY THE ABILITY OF these groups, International Students and Temporary Foreign Workers, to count pre-PR time with the elimination of paragraph 5(1)(c)(i) from the Citizenship Act. The key points that differentiate these groups of immigrants from other groups are:

  • they are not newcomers to Canada
  • they have already established strong economic and social ties within the country by:
  • graduating from Canadian universities o working at Canadian companies
  • owning property
  • paying taxes
  • making friends
  • belonging to Canadian clubs
  • and otherwise being part of the Canadian society

In other words, they have become fully “Canadianized”, as described by Honourable Francis Muldoon – a respected Canadian immigration judge – even prior to becoming Canadian permanent residents.

 

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