Thursday, January 29, 2009
New Canadian citizenship rules impact children of Canadian TCKs
by guest blogger Robin Pascoe of ExpatExpert
If you are Canadian and gave birth or planning to give birth to any of your children while living overseas, please read this and pass the link along to any of your Canadian friends who did likewise.
Not enough for TCKs to wonder who they are, new citizenship rules which go into effect April 17th of this year from Citizenship and Immigration Canada are now going to have their children wondering what nationality they are.
Read these new rules carefully. To help you along, here is a key phrase you should look for in the section about 'Persons born or adopted outside of Canada' after the new rules go into effect:
“This means that children born in another country after the new law comes into effect will not be Canadian citizens by birth if they were born outside Canada to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent.”
Government bafflegab to be sure but essentially, it means that if you had your child abroad and gave him/her your Canadian citizenship, after April 17th, that same child cannot give their children the same Canadian citizenship unless they are born in Canada (and a few other rules thrown in for good measure). Given that a high percentage of children of expats are born abroad and TCKs have a propensity for living and working abroad in adulthood, there’s a pretty good chance your grandchildren (if you’re old like me) or your children (if you are a TCK reading this) will also be born outside of Canada.
The head of the Canadian Expat Association Allan Nichols and I have been working together to get as much clarity as possible on these changes since I was alerted via a posting on my Facebook site by Valerie Bolduc of Ottawa. She had been reading an article published yesterday about these new complex citizenship laws in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Now, we are all trying to reach as many Canadians, Canadian clubs and chambers as possible.
Also unclear from the get-go (besides that convoluted language above) are the exemptions. It says in the rules that children of Canadian diplomats, military or any other personnel of the Canadian government born abroad are exempt. But when Mr. Nichols called Ottawa yesterday to get some answers, he was told that even diplomatic families will not be immune if one of the spouses was born outside of Canada. If this is indeed true (they are so confused it would seem in Ottawa) it would mean that a Canadian foreign service officer, a Canadian ambassador, indeed anyone who served Canada abroad but chose to marry a non-Canadian, may not have Canadian grandchildren!
So, what can you do?
For starters, send this link onto everyone you know who is Canadian with children born abroad or thinking about it. Don't forget, they may even be back living in Canada now. It doesn’t matter. Help educate other Canadians and stress the urgency for action of clarity.
Second, watch this blog for updates as Mr. Nichols and I are both on the case and engaging as many people as possible to gather information including the Canadian Employee Relocation Council. A power point presentation illustrating the fallout of this Byzantine movement by the government has been assembled by Mr. Nichols and is available to view through this link.
Third, and most important: Write to the Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, right now and demand clarity and answers. His e-mail address is Minister@cic.gc.ca and the mailing address is The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C.,M.P, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1. Remember this goes into affect on April 17th so write to him now! Time is of the essence.
Mr. Nichols explains in his presentation why the government is changing the existing laws, but it is clear, that innocent fish are being caught in a net designed to close loopholes. More to come a we know it, but please, act now.