ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 469 - October 31, 2012

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Changes to the Citizenship Regulations: Up-front Language Evidence

This document has expired. Please refer to the appropriate Program Delivery Instructions for current information.

Issue

The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to provide new processing procedures due to changes in the Citizenship Regulations that will come into effect on November 1, 2012.

Background

Changes are being made to Section 14 of the Regulations, which pertains to the official languages criteria. Under the new rule, all adult applicants for a grant of citizenship aged 18 to 54 must provide objective evidence of language ability by submitting proof of achievement of Canadian Language Benchmarks / Niveaux de compétence linquistique canadiens (CLB/NCLC) Level 4 or higher in speaking and listening with their application. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is making these changes to improve processing of adult grant applications and will require applicants to file an application when they meet the requirements for citizenship.

Applicants must provide a copy of their language evidence with their application (as per the Final List of Acceptable Evidence provided as Appendix A of this OB). CIC will be able to return the applications of those who do not provide evidence that they meet the language requirements up front. This rule will also give citizenship judges better objective evidence on which to base their decision.

All original documents submitted with the citizenship application must be presented by the applicant at the time of testing or hearing for confirmation except for any third-party test results which are listed in Appendix A. These applicants will have already submitted the original for immigration purposes and will no longer have it in their possession.

Acceptable language evidence

Under the new rules, at the time of application, the applicant must demonstrate that he/she has met the minimum language requirements by submitting English or French language evidence (speaking and listening) that corresponds to Level 4 of the CLB/NCLC (the Canadian Language Benchmarksfor English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens for French).

Appendix A lists the language evidence accepted by CIC. This final list of acceptable evidence includes:

  • Results of a CIC-approved third-party language test (only listening and speaking);
  • Evidence of achieving CLB/NCLC Level 4 or higher in certain government-funded language training programs:
    • Language evidence as listed in Appendix A, shows proficiency in the two skills areas (i.e., listening and speaking) in English or French;
    • A test must show the applicant’s score and confirm that they meet the required CLB/NCLC Level 4 or higher.
  • Proof of completion of secondary or post-secondary education:
    • Successful secondary education completed in French or English, in Canada or abroad (Appendix A);
    • Successful post-secondary education completed in French or English, in Canada or abroad (Appendix A);

Procedure in CPC-Sydney (CPC-S)

Initial processing

When an application is received at CPC-S, officers and agents must assess whether or not it meets the completeness check as per Part A of the File Requirements Checklist by examining the application package received. As of November 1, 2012, this now includes the language evidence requirement for adult applicants aged 18 to 54.

For all adult grant applications received at CPC-S on or after November 1, 2012, CPC-S agents look at Section 7 of the CIT 0002 application form to identify the type of language evidence submitted with the application. Based on this indication, the agents will locate and examine the evidence attached to the application and determine whether or not it is acceptable according to Appendix A, and if the application is considered complete.

If the evidence submitted is deemed acceptable and the application is complete, CPC-S agents will record the language requirement field in the Global Case Management System (GCMS). The file subsequently moves to the next stage at CPC-S and normal processing continues.

If the evidence is not acceptable, the application will be returned along with a letter advising the applicant that they omitted to submit acceptable evidence that they meet CLB/NCLC Level 4. The fees will not be taken. These applicants are provided the option of resubmitting their application with necessary evidence or requesting a refund.

Applicants with special needs

Applicants who have a cognitive disability that prevents them from providing proof of language ability will need to explain on the application form the nature of the disability and provide documentary evidence in support of the condition.

CPC-S must ensure that there is at a minimum one piece of supporting documentation included with the application, otherwise it is to be returned to the applicant as incomplete. If the application is complete as per the completeness check and includes supporting document(s) for medical condition, CPC-S will flag the file for the local office. As per current procedures, citizenship officials will still conduct language screening at the time of interview and if there are language concerns, or the applicant might be eligible for a waiver of the language requirement, then the file is referred to the judge for a hearing, The local office is still responsible for sending the applicant the Request for Medical Opinion form if deemed necessary.

Processing scenarios

Applications received at CPC-S from November 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012

Adult grant applications received will have to be submitted using either the CIT 0002 (09-2012) E or the CIT 0002 (11-2012) E application form.

Scenario 1 – Application submitted with acceptable language evidence using the 09-2012 or 11-2012 form.

The application is processed as per normal procedures, unless it is considered incomplete for reasons other than objective language evidence.

Scenario 2 – Application submitted with acceptable language evidence but using a pre 09-2012 form.

The application is considered incomplete and is returned to the applicant with a letter indicating to use the new form when resubmitting.

Scenario 3 – Application submitted with no language evidence but using the new form.

The application is considered incomplete and is returned to the applicant with a letter instructing them to resubmit it including objective language evidence.

Applications received at CPC-S on or after January 1, 2013

Adult grant applications received will have to be submitted using only the CIT 0002 (11-2012) E application form.

Procedure in local offices

At the time of interview, the citizenship official will verify the originals of the photocopies of the documents submitted by the applicant with the application, including the original of the objective language evidence, except for third-party test results, as indicated above.

With the implementation of the new regulation, citizenship officials should be able to conduct initial interviews with clients with ease as applicants will have provided evidence of meeting the language requirement at time of application and should be able to communicate at CLB/NCLC Level 4 in speaking and listening. However, should a citizenship official have any concerns about the applicant’s ability to communicate at CLB/NCLC Level 4 during the interview, procedures outlined in OB 246 must continue to be followed including the completion of the Citizenship Language Screening Tool form. If it is determined by the citizenship official that the applicant does not meet CLB/NCLC Level 4, a hearing must be scheduled, as per normal procedures. For applicants with special needs, please refer to the procedures above.

Under the new rule, it is anticipated that fewer applicants will be scheduled for language hearings, however, citizenship judges must continue to assess applicants’ language ability as per normal procedures when scheduled for a hearing to ensure that they meet the language requirement. It can be determined that, regardless of evidence provided by the applicant at the time of application, the language requirement is not met. New non-approval letters have been prepared which incorporate language evidence.

For applicants with special needs, citizenship judges may deem it necessary to recommend a waiver of language requirement.


Appendix A – Final List of Acceptable Evidence

The type of evidence must be equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmarks / Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (CLB/NCLC) Level 4 or higher for speaking and listening.

Note: The correlation between the third-party test result or the evidence of government-funded language training programs and the CLB/NCLC scale will be done by CPC-Sydney (CPC-S) as per training. It will not be indicated on the evidence itself. Local offices will not need to correlate the language evidence.

1. Results of a CIC-approved third-party test done previously for immigration purposes (even expired) or done specifically for citizenship purposes:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS), general training, not the academic version;
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP-General), or CELPIP General-LS (assessing only listening and speaking language skills), not the academic version;
  • Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) or Test d’Évaluation du français adapté au Québec (TEFAQ) or TEF épreuves orales (last two are assessing only speaking and listening language skills).

The following list of evidence is acceptable only if used in the past specifically for Quebec immigration purposes:

  • Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF);
  • Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF);
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF);
  • Test de connaissance du français pour le Québec (TCFQ).

2. Evidence of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in French or English:

  • A transcript from a secondary or post-secondary school indicating the successful completion of a program in English or French, in Canada or abroad.
  • A diploma or certificate indicating successful graduation from a secondary school or post-secondary school in English or French, in Canada or abroad.

Note: A single course done in English or French does not meet language requirements for citizenship.

3. Evidence of achieving CLB/NCLC Level 4 or higher through certain government-funded language training programs:

  • LINC/CLIC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada / Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada). Effective November 1, 2012, all applicants who successfully completed LINC/CLIC training will be issued certificates which can be submitted as evidence.
    • Applicants who successfully completed LINC/CLIC between January 1, 2008 and October 31, 2012 were not always provided certificates of completion. Applicants will specify on the application form that no certificate or evidence is available to include with the application. An electronic verification process will be conducted at CPC-S to verify those clients who are unable to provide a certificate. These files will include a printout of verification results and as per current procedures, citizenship officials will still conduct language screening and if there are language concerns then the file is referred to the judge for hearing.
  • For Manitoba: Progress report from the Manitoba government issued since January 2009 showing that the applicant is at least beginning at CLB/NCLC Level 5 or higher in speaking and listening.
  • For Quebec: Bulletin issued by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI) issued since June 2001 showing that the applicant is at Échelle québécoise Level 4 (or higher) in interaction orale, which comprises both listening and speaking skills.
  • For British Columbia: A document of proof from the English Language Services for Adults (ELSA) program showing that the applicant completed CLB/NCLC Level 4 (or higher) in speaking and listening.
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