A surprising new internal government report has found that those immigrants who have been in Canada longest are the ones most likely to fail the citizenship test.
The citizenship test is one of the last steps completed by immigrants wishing to obtain full citizenship rights as a Canadian, including the ability to carry a Canadian passport and to vote. The citizenship test was redesigned in 2012 to promote newcomers’ awareness of Canadian history, values and culture.
In recent years, the government has made reforms not only to the test, but also other citizenship regulations in an attempt to strengthen loyalty to Canada and promote successful integration. In addition to the revamped test, the government’s most recent proposed changes include raising residency requirements so that immigrants must wait longer before applying for citizenship.
However, the findings of the departmental report are troubling this idea in suggesting that length of time living in Canada does not correlate to a better grasp of Canadian history and values – at least as exhibited in standardized tests.
This has led some immigrant advocates to question what the government understands about what it means to be Canadian. Is there really a way to test newcomers on how Canadian they are?
Since the redesigned test was introduced, more immigrants are failing the exam overall. People who have been in the country longer are less likely to write the test, and therefore less likely to pass. New arrivals, generally, are more motivated to gain full citizenship and are therefore more likely to take the test and to do well on it.
Applicants from South Korea and China were found most likely to do well on the test. Those taking the test in the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were also most likely to do well.
Failing the citizenship test is the top reason for rejection of citizenship applications, followed by failure to prove language proficiency, and not meeting the residency requirements.
Source: Toronto Star