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Liberal promise to wipe out citizenship fees, expect a dip in apps, followed by a surge

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In 2017, the Liberals loosened some rules concerning citizenship – examples of which would be the reduction of the length of time that would-be citizens must be physically present in Canada, and a lowered age range for both language and knowledge requirements. The fees, however, remain the same.

The Liberal pledge to waive citizenship fees for eligible permanent residents.

Currently, adults pay $530 plus a “right of citizenship fee” of $100 to support their citizenship application. Part of the Liberal pledge is to waive citizenship fees for eligible permanent residents, which possibly suggests that the already high rate of citizenship acquisition in Canada could increase even further – following that thought, those who are currently eligible to apply for citizenship would instead opt for the choice to wait until the Liberals pass a legislation implementing this change: this would lead into an expectation of a short-term dip in citizenship applications, then a sudden surge of such once the legislation would be passed.

The Liberals have earmarked $110 million for 2023-2024 to handle the expected increase in applications, a 40 percent increase from what they expect to spend to implement this policy in the coming federal government fiscal year ($75 million).

Also, the platform forecasts that waiving the application fee will cost taxpayers $75 million in the 2020-21 federal fiscal year and this figure will rise to $110 million by 2023-24; indicating their expectation of the policy resulting in a roughly 40 percent increase in new citizens by 2024.

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