3.09.2005

they like it and they stay

According to a recent report (and ALPF's LOD!), immigrants to Canada are much more likely to become citizens than immigrants to any other country.

The report, summarized in this Globe and Mail story, says 84% of eligible immigrants were Canadian citizens in 2001, compared with 40% of foreign-born US residents, 50% in the UK and 75% in Australia.
Even though immigrants are eligible to apply to become a citizen only after they have lived in Canada for three years out of the previous four, the decision to become one happens quickly after arrival. The majority of immigrants decide within the first six months of their of residence whether they intend to become citizens.

The study cites several factors that influence the decision: attachment to birth country and Canada, rules in their home country regarding dual citizenship, time, cost and knowledge of the citizenship process.
I've heard from several people, mostly from South Asia, that it's incredibly difficult to become an American citizen, and so much easier to become a Canadian citizen, that it's a no-brainer.

The story also notes that "Americans living in Canada are the least likely to seek citizenship. Even among those Americans who have been in Canada for more than 30 years, 32 per cent are not citizens." This makes sense to me, given the progpaganda Americans have heard since birth: "the greatest country on the face of the earth". Also, the ease of travel between the two countries might keep Americans living in Canada more connected to their homeland than someone from China or India.

People always ask me if I'm going to become a Canadian citizen, then ask me if there is dual citizenship. I'm still not clear on that one. The people I know who are dual citizens - either of the US and Canada or the US and the UK - have one parent born in each country; they are automatically eligible for dual citizenship. I'm still not sure how that would work for us. But honestly, I don't care. I feel it's not a decision I have to make yet, so I just put it aside.

4 comments:

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Well, I do know a lot of Canadians that have moved south, and generally they always retain their Canadian citizenship if they become American citizens.

It might be harder the other way. Canada recognizes dual citizenship, whereas technically the U.S. doesn't.

RobfromAlberta said...

It's not surprising really. Many immigrants come from oppressive countries. Citizenship in Canada is seen as protection against ever having to go back.

Of course, it didn't help Maher Arar.

L-girl said...

Definitely not surprising, but a testament to the welcoming nature of Canada, I think.

Good of you to mention Mr Arar. We can't be reminded of those issues often enough.

ErinOrtlund said...

We're definitely going to go for dual citizenship. My son is already a dual citizen because he was born here. I want my daughter to have it too, and I don't want immigration issues to block our options in the future. Suppose we retire in the US, but our kids are in Canada--I don't want to lose our permanent residency and have to apply again.