Wealthy Britons step up citizenship shopping to thwart Brexit

Not surprising:

The number of British entrepreneurs looking to “buy” citizenship from countries offering visa-free access to the European Union has risen sharply, investment migration firms say, as prospects of a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the bloc darken.

Investment immigration firm Astons said it had seen a 50% and 30% year-on-year increase in interest from clients seeking Cypriot or Greek citizenship respectively this quarter, less than four months before UK passport-holders are likely to lose their rights to freedom of movement across the EU.

Henley & Partners also reported a rise in requests for advice on investment migration applications to Malta, Portugal, Austria and several Caribbean islands, which offer a range of residency rights, visa-free travel to the EU and citizenship to investors in local business or property.

Citizens of certain Caribbean sovereign states including St. Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis also enjoy preferred access to the EU, thanks to close ties with EU members as a result of historic, diplomatic and modern trade agreements.

“This isn’t about tourists. This is the UK high net worth community that have a constant need to travel to and spend significant time in the EU,” said Henley & Partners director Paddy Blewer.

“This is investment migration as a volatility hedge and a component in a high net worth portfolio value defence strategy,” he said, adding that volumes of client engagement were higher now than immediately after the 2016 Brexit vote.

Interest in additional citizenships is rising even as the European Commission examines possible steps to curb EU states selling passports and visas to wealthy foreigners, due to concerns it can help organised crime groups.

Cypriot residency can be secured in two months with a 300,000 euro ($351,870) property purchase. Securing citizenship takes six months and requires a minimum property investment of 2 million euros.

Reuters reported in December how some donors to Britain’s ruling Conservative Party had sought Cypriot citizenship including hedge fund manager Alan Howard.

“Both Cypriot and Caribbean investments are proving very popular … primarily driven by high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) from the UK who have an eye on the future and life after Brexit,” said Astons spokesman Konstantin Kaminskiy.

CARIBBEAN DREAM

Henley & Partners said its volume of engagement with clients seeking alternative citizenship or residence by investment climbed 40% in the first quarter of 2020 versus Q1 2019, before flattening during the COVID-19 lockdown in Q2.

But interest has rallied since July 1, with a 15% year-on-year increase in engagement to Sept. 10, as the end of the Brexit transition phase nears.

Henley & Partners’ Blewer said clients were increasingly drawn to Caribbean citizenship applications – which is likely to give them better travel access to the EU than Britain – but which have a lower minimum investment and a quicker approval process.

Saint Lucia citizenship, offering visa-free travel to 146 countries, can be obtained in around four months for a minimum investment of 76,152 pounds, data supplied by Astons showed.

For less than 40,000 pounds more, investors can obtain citizenship of St. Kitts & Nevis – and visa-free travel to 156 countries – in around 60 days.

In contrast, Malta offers citizenship in exchange for around 1 million pounds of investment, but the process takes up to 14 months.

Portugal, meanwhile, typically processes investment migration applications in three months but only grants EU residency to investors and visa-fee travel to just 26 countries.

“With HNWIs, time is often more important than what is essentially a small fluctuation in cost and many are looking to secure additional citizenship as fast as possible in the pandemic landscape,” Arthur Sarkisian, managing director of Astons, said.

EU authorities are under pressure to clamp down on investment migration programmes by member states.

Sven Giegold, a member of the European Parliament from Germany’s Green party, said these kind of citizenship sales “posed a serious threat to EU security and the fight against corruption” in the bloc.

“EU passports and visas are not a commodity. Money must not be the criterion for citizenship and residence rights in the EU,” he said.

Source: Wealthy Britons step up citizenship shopping to thwart Brexit

Immigration services to reopen gradually after pandemic shut down many programs

Useful overview:

Immigration officials are beginning gradually to resume in-person services after the pandemic forced many programs to shut down, frustrating immigrants whose lives were put on hold.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shut down immigration tests and citizenship ceremonies in March to protect the health and safety of staff and clients. The department started offering some virtual services over the last few months. Starting this week, it is opening in-person services by appointment only.

“This testing phase will allow us to assess our protocols and procedures and ensure the safety of our staff and our clients. The lessons learned will help us plan for reopening services more widely in the future,” says the IRCC’s website.

Limited services being offered at specific locations include citizenship, services related to permanent residence, asylum claims and biometrics.

Clients must wait for government officials to schedule appointments before visiting an IRCC site and should not call IRCC to try to arrange a date themselves, the department says.

William Ojeda and his family have waited an agonizing three years to renew their permanent residency, a time frame he said is unreasonable. They are now unable to re-enter Canada from Mexico.

“Being unable to be in Canada, and the uncertainty and anxiety of almost three years checking the IRCC website pretty much daily after the initial reasonable delay, and worrying for the well-being of my kids has been really, really hard,” he wrote in an email from Guadalajara.

Odeja, his wife and their eldest daughter were born in Mexico, while his two younger daughters were born in Canada and are citizens.

‘Three years lost’

“We have never broken a law … we live, by choice, by Canadian written and social laws and yet we feel treated as second class immigrants,” he said.

“If the decision is favourable, of course, it would be a happy ending and all the uncertainty, anxiety and fear will blur over time. If negative, it would be all for nothing, with three years lost on our life plan, which is in Canada.”Ojeda said the delay in processing his file predated the pandemic. COVID-19 has created a bigger backlog in many cases, however.

Conservative immigration critic Raquel Dancho said she’s heard from countless families affected by what she calls the “administrative ineptness” of IRCC.

“The lack of a plan throughout the pandemic has failed refugees and immigrants who wish to come to Canada,” she said.

“The Liberals have failed to ensure a fair and compassionate immigration process for the world’s most vulnerable. Frankly, it’s unacceptable and those that depend on the immigration system deserve better.”

NDP MP Jenny Kwan said MP offices have been “inundated” with immigration applicants’ desperate pleas for help. She said several of her MP colleagues have reported that immigration cases consume up to 90 per cent of their constituency casework.

“It’s apparent that there has been little to no movement on IRCC offices resuming their work up to now. The limited capacity of the restart will still mean that too many people are still just going to be stuck in the system with ongoing delays,” she said.”People are still being asked to continue to put their lives on hold. Is it a wonder that families desperate to reunite with their loved ones feel that their cries for help are just falling on deaf ears? The problems with the backlog are so deep that this limited restart will do little to reassure those stuck in the system.”

Efforts to speed up processing

Mathieu Genest, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, said the department has been adapting its systems to speed up the processing of applications while protecting the health and safety of staff, clients and Canadians. IRCC has prioritized applications from Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada, as well as people performing essential services.

Staff now have more resources and streamlined processes for working remotely, he said.

“The expansion of the resumption of in-person services will depend on the results of and lessons learned during this pilot, as well as regional health guidelines, available capacity and virtual alternatives, among other considerations,” he said.

IRCC has introduced safety measures at its locations — including a self-assessment questionnaire that must be completed before an appointment and again before entering the premises.

All employees and clients are required to wear masks, maintain physical distance and follow signs directing the flow of foot traffic. People who appear ill will have to reschedule their appointments.

Source: Immigration services to reopen gradually after pandemic shut down many programs

Hearing on birthright citizenship in U.S. territories Wednesday

Decision and rationale will be interesting:

Arguments will be heard Wednesday in an ongoing birthright citizenship case being appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice will argue in the appeals court to reverse a ruling in Fitisemanu v. United States, which recognized that individuals born in U.S. territories have the same right to citizenship as those born in the 50 states or the District of Columbia, a release from Equally American stated.

Lead plaintiff John Fitisemanu was born in American Samoa – a U.S. territory since 1900.  For the last 20 years he has been a taxpaying, U.S. passport holding resident of Utah. However, based on a discriminatory federal law, he is labeled a “national, but not a citizen, of the United States.”

In December, a district court recognized that he is a natural-born U.S. citizen. The next day, Fitisemanu registered to vote. But because the district court later stayed its ruling pending appeal, Fitisemanu will be unable to vote in November unless the district court’s ruling is affirmed by the 10th Circuit.

“With an important election around the corner, I am hopeful the 10th Circuit will act quickly so that I will finally be able to vote,” Fitisemanu said in advance of the argument. “All my life I’ve met my obligations as an American, it is time I’m able to exercise my rights as a citizen.”

Source: Hearing on birthright citizenship in U.S. territories Wednesday

Australia has announced a new citizenship test. Here’s how it will work

Note the value-type questions, most being more broadly focussed with one, arguably, being more targeted (readers to judge which one!):

Australia’s citizenship test is getting its first update in more than a decade, with a focus on Australian values.

Announcing the changes on Thursday – which marks Australian Citizenship Day – Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge said: “Our Australian values are important. They have helped shape our country and they are the reason why so many people want to become Australian citizens”.

The new questions, which will be included on Australian citizenship tests from 15 November, “require potential citizens to understand and commit to our values, like freedom of speech, mutual respect, equality of opportunity, the importance of democracy and the rule of law,” Mr Tudge said in a statement.

“We are asking those who apply for citizenship to understand our values more deeply before they make the ultimate commitment to our nation.”

What kind of questions will be on the new test?

The updated citizenship test will comprise of 20 multiple choice questions, including five new questions on Australian values. The applicant will be required to correctly answer all five of the questions on values, with a mark of at least 75 per cent overall, to pass the test.

There will be no changes to the English language or residency requirements for citizenship.

Examples of questions in the new values section include:

  • Why is it important that all Australian citizens vote to elect the state and federal parliament?

  • Should people in Australia make an effort to learn English?

  • In Australia, can you encourage violence against a person or group of people if you have been insulted?

  • Should people tolerate one another where they find that they disagree?

  • In Australia, are people free to choose who they marry or not marry?

  • In Australia, is it acceptable for a husband to be violent towards his wife if she has disobeyed or disrespected him?

  • Do you agree that men and women should be provided equality of opportunity when pursuing their goals and interests?

  • Should people’s freedom of speech and freedom of expression be respected in Australia?

These aren’t the exact questions in the test and answers will be multiple choice.

An updated version of the Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond resource will also be made available online to assist those preparing for the test.

Source: Australia has announced a new citizenship test. Here’s how it will work

How Covid-19 is changing citizenship by investment

More in depth than previous post:

Before Covid-19 connections and money could buy almost anyone the right to live pretty much anywhere they wanted.

The industry known today as CRBI—citizenship and residence by investment—began in 1984 in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and Nevis, which offered a passport to foreigners who “invested substantially” in their economy. Today, more than half of the world’s 193 countries will trade citizenship or residency for cash. The industry is worth up to $25 billion a year and has spawned a new class of self-styled global citizens. But it’s also attracted criticism from those who say passports-for-purchase turn democracies into havens for criminals and facilitate money laundering and tax evasion.

The pandemic has led to unprecedented border closures and travel restrictions. Experts say that’s helped the CRBI industry grow but it’s also shaking it up, as high net worth individuals turn away from traditionally prized passports like the US and towards countries with high-quality healthcare systems.

London-based CRBI advisory firm Henley & Partners saw a 49% increase in enquiries in the first two quarters of 2020 compared to the same period last year. A competing advisory firm, Arton Capital, saw a dip in interest in the first quarter of the year as the pandemic spread in Asia. But enquiries rebounded and have increased 25% since April according to founder Armand Arton.

The CRBI industry was growing before the pandemic, thanks to demand from wealthy individuals in developing countries like India or Nigeria, whose economic growth has outpaced their diplomatic clout, “which is what bestows visa-free travel on citizens,” explains Paddy Blewer, public relations director for Henley & Partners.

A millionaire from oil-rich Gabon, for example, needs to apply for a visa to enter Europe’s Schengen zone. But that process can take up to 60 days and evidence suggests that Schengen visa applications from Africa are more likely to get rejected. Instead, a second citizenship from a Caribbean nation would guarantee them visa-free access to Europe for $150,000. That’s merely a “rounding error” for Blewer’s clients, who typically have about $6 million of assets under management.

Because of Covid-19, Blewer and Arton say investors are looking for countries who are perceived to have dealt with the pandemic better than others. That applies to Germany, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand. Essentially, if people can work remotely from anywhere in the world, says Blewer, they are asking themselves one question: If another pandemic comes around, “where would they prefer to be?”

Finally, more Brits, Canadians, and Americans, whose passports are among the most valuable in the world, are becoming CRBI applicants. Henley & Partners reports “a dramatic 100% increase in enquiries from US citizens in the first six months of 2020,” which Blewer attributes to economic instability and a poor handling of the coronavirus. US citizens aren’t getting ready to leave en masse, he says, but they’re looking to hedge their bets. In September, a US passport holder could only travel visa-free to 86 countries, down from 171 last year.

“What we have seen with the pandemic is a complete change in the power of a passport,” Arton says.

Source: How Covid-19 is changing citizenship by investment

Surge of Covid-Related Interest in Investment Migration from Citizens of Developed Nations

The citizenship-by-investment industry broadens its marketing to include those from developed countries:

The massive volatility driven by Covid-19 has pushed the steady growth in investment migration into overdrive, with a nearly 50% increase in enquiries overall as the pandemic coursed around the globe in the six months to June 2020 compared to the same period last year. While the surge in interest shown by citizens of emerging economies such as India and Nigeria is somewhat predictable, a fascinating turn of events is the growing attention from nationals of leading developed nations. Most notable is America, with a dramatic 100% increase in enquiries from US citizens in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, along with significantly greater interest shown by Canadians and UK citizens.

“The tumultuous events of 2020, including the unplanned pause during the Great Lockdown, have resulted in people reconsidering how they wish to conduct their lives and — for those fortunate enough — choosing where they want to live by opting for investment migration,” says Henley & Partners CEO Dr. Juerg Steffen. “The relentless volatility in terms of both wealth and lifestyle has resulted in a significant shift in how alternative residence and citizenship are perceived by high-net-worth investors around the world.”

In terms of the total number of enquiries made in the first six months of 2020, Indian nationals outstripped all other nationalities by a long stretch. Henley & Partners received 96.5% more enquiries from Indian nationals than Nigerian nationals, who were placed second, followed by Pakistan and, startlingly, the US.

Several countries that host investment migration programs rank high on prominent indexes such as the 2020 Global Peace Index (GPI), the World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business ranking, and Deep Knowledge Analytics’ Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking. For those seeking the comfort of an alternative residence option in times of crisis, New Zealand comes out on top, impressively ranking 1st in both the GPI and Ease of Doing Business index and 2nd in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking. Other secure alternatives for high-net-worth families are Singapore, which ranks 7th in the GPI, 2nd in the Ease of Doing Business index, and 10th in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking, and Australia, which ranks 13th, 14th, and 6th in the three indexes, respectively.

In terms of alternative citizenship options in Europe, Austria is the top option, ranking 4th in the GPI, 27th in the Ease of Doing Business index, and 8th in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment index, while Montenegro ranks 69th, 50th, and 83rd in the three indexes, respectively. The GPI omits the Caribbean small-island nations, but St. Lucia ranks 93rd in the Ease of Doing Business index and 127th in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking, making it the Caribbean investment migration program of choice for high-net-worth individuals.

“Once ‘nice-to-have’ assets of convenience and privilege that enhanced travel freedom and provided vacation or second homes, alternative residence and citizenship have rapidly become ‘must-have’ essential assets, not just to survive, but to thrive in the 21st century,” says Henley & Partners Group Head of Sales Dominic Volek, who points out that 19 of the G20 nations offer some form of mechanism to encourage inward investment in exchange for residence rights. The 20thmember is the EU, and 60% of EU member states offer investment migration options.

Source: Surge of Covid-Related Interest in Investment Migration from Citizens of Developed Nations

Voters’ Attitudes About Race and Gender Are Even More Divided Than in 2016

Source: Voters’ Attitudes About Race and Gender Are Even More Divided Than in 2016

Immigrants say their lives are in limbo as pandemic blocks their path to citizenship

Certainly, Canada has performed worse than Australia, with only about 7,000 online ceremonies, or about one-tenth of Australia’s (the issues regarding online testing, as highlighted by those in the article, are more complex given integrity concerns):

Six months after the federal government cancelled citizenship tests due to COVID-19, many immigrants say they fear a growing backlog in the citizenship queue will delay indefinitely their goal of becoming Canadians.

Before the pandemic hit, the entire citizenship process took an average of 12 months. Now, applicants say they have no idea when in-person tests will resume — and they’re calling on the federal government to hold online or physically distanced exams.

Myrann Abainza came to Canada from the Philippines as a live-in caregiver in 2009 and was joined by her husband and two daughters six years later.

Her family was on track to obtain citizenship when COVID-19 struck. Frustrated by the delay and a lack of information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), she said the government should find a way of holding in-person tests that respect public health guidelines.

“If schools are reopening, why not?” she said.

“It is very important for me because I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time. It’s my dream. It’s my dream to become a Canadian citizen.”

IRCC’s website states that as of March 14, all citizenship tests, re-tests, hearings and interviews are cancelled due to the pandemic. Citizenship ceremonies were also halted at that time but have resumed since as virtual events.

IRCC told CBC News it is looking at alternatives to provide citizenship tests but offered no timeframe.

Immigration department ‘considering options’

“The department is reviewing operations and considering options for resumption of services, which could include online citizenship tests,” said department spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon.

Tests and interviews are critical steps that must be completed before someone can become a Canadian citizen. Citizenship allows a newcomer the right to vote and obtain a passport, and also gives many a sense of security and permanent belonging.

Basel Masri, who arrived in Canada as a refugee from Turkey after fleeing conflict in his home country of Syria, is one of those whose path to citizenship has been stalled by the pandemic.

Like many of the citizenship applicants CBC contacted for this story, Masri checks the status of his application through an online portal every day — only to learn that his file is still “in process.”

Masri said much of his anxiety is due to a lack of information coming from IRCC.

“Is it going to be for two years now, the processing time? Nobody knows,” he said.

“All the time you think about your application, you think about your passports, you think about your citizenship, you think about so many things. You think about your family.”

A push for online tests

Now that IRCC has started virtual oath-taking ceremonies, Masri said it should be able to securely administer online citizenship tests.

According to figures provided by IRCC, nearly 7,000 online oath ceremonies have been conducted since the pandemic struck, with more than 17,500 people being sworn in as new citizens.

The department is now ramping the number of oath ceremonies and allowing multiple participants in each event, to reach a target of 2,000 new citizens per week. In 2019, an average of 4,738 new citizens were sworn in every week at in-person ceremonies, according to IRCC.

Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Zool Suleman said the global pandemic has slowed down immigration processing times across the board.

While in-person citizenship tests might be possible, he said, officials would have to take precautions to keep the test-takers and the staff administering the tests safe and comfortable.

But delivering a virtual test would be even more challenging, since IRCC would have to verify the identity of the person taking the test and ensure that the answers aren’t being provided by a third party.

Many people have argued that if schools and universities can operate virtually, citizenship tests could also be held online. But Suleman said the stakes are particularly high with the citizenship test.

Risks with virtual tests

“I think an online test would be considered risky for Canada immigration because it leads to a very important right for people when they become citizens,” he said. “So there would be some concern that there would be an abuse of any kind of non-secure process.”

Ottawa-based immigration lawyer Julie Taub said the technology is there to conduct virtual tests, but agreed that IRCC would need to take steps to ensure the integrity of the process.

“It’s hard to find a foolproof way if you do it online to ensure they’re not cheating,” she said.

Taub said many of the delays in the immigration process are caused by staff working from home due to the pandemic. She said that’s led to much frustration among immigrants attempting to access services.

Olga Lenchenko has been in Canada for six years. She arrived from Ukraine when her husband accepted a job as an accountant.

Their citizenship test was scheduled for the end of March, then cancelled due to COVID-19.

She said she has mixed feelings about the situation. She said she understands the health threat posed by the coronavirus but she feels the lack of movement on testing is unfair.

“It’s been six months and we haven’t received any updates. It is very hard emotionally to be in limbo,” she said.

“We’ve been dreaming about the day we become citizens. Now, all the thrill is gone.”

Source: Immigrants say their lives are in limbo as pandemic blocks their path to citizenship

Richmond, B.C. politicians push Ottawa to address birth tourism and stop ‘passport mill’

More British Columbia media coverage of birth tourism, following a recent poll and my release of the CIHI data:

One in four births taking place at Richmond Hospital involve an international mother, according to new statistics.

So-called “birth tourism” is a controversial phenomenon in which expectant mothers from other countries come to Canada for the purpose of accessing a Canadian passport for their newborn babies and skipping the standard immigration processes.

“It’s perceived as an abuse of birthright citizenship,” said Andrew Griffith, a former director of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada who is currently a fellow at the Environics Institute.

“Birthright citizenship was really designed for people who moved to Canada, who immigrated to Canada, gave birth to their children, so their children would automatically have Canadian citizenship,” Griffith said. “It was never designed for a world where you could stay in a birth hotel or a hostel, give birth and fly back to your country of origin.”

Over the last couple of years, Griffith has been collecting numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which compiles data from hospitals across the country, excluding Quebec.

Non-resident births chart

A chart Griffith created shows a 10-year trend of births by non-residents and reveals an upward curve of the practice.

Griffith notes that the term “non-resident,” in this data can also refer to international students and foreign workers. He estimates birth tourists account for roughly half of the non-resident births.

The new numbers show the 2019-2020 fiscal year and don’t include the majority of the months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They reveal that births by non-residents made up 24 per cent of the deliveries at Richmond Hospital, a slight uptick from the year before.

The numbers jumped by more than a third for St. Paul’s and and Mount Saint Joseph hospitals in Vancouver, where non-residents made up 14 per cent of the total births.

Non-resident births data

“What I find interesting is that I haven’t seen really any similar outcry in any other community – even in those centres where there seems to be fairly high numbers of non-resident births – and I’m just not quite sure why that is, because it seems like the focus always is on Richmond,” he said.

Politicians from all three levels of government in Richmond have been pushing Ottawa to do more to stop the practice.

“We just feel that that is not fair, it really degrades the citizenship that we all enjoy,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

He said the municipal government has been advocating that birth tourism be addressed, but those requests seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

“We can insist that those practices that are operating a business to house the birth tourists have a business licence. There’s not all that much more that we can do, other than keep highlighting the problem,” Brodie said.

Jas Johal, the BC Liberal MLA for Richmond-Queensborough, said the province can step in by increasing fees for international mothers to discourage the practice, but the responsibility lies with the federal government.

“One out of four children born at our hospital are foreign nationals – that’s not a hospital anymore, it’s a passport mill,” he said. “If you’re coming here to have a child on a tourist visa, well, guess what? That application for citizenship is null and void. A simple change like that would probably reduce, and probably eliminate, birth tourism in Canada.”

The two Conservative members of parliament for the area, Kenny Chiu and Alice Wong, have also voiced their objection to the practice.

Chiu’s office has been encouraging people to write letters to the immigration minister and offering to help deliver them.

A recent survey also found a majority of people would like the federal government set up a committee to address birth tourism.

CTV News Vancouver reached out to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada regarding birth tourism, but did not receive a response before deadline. This story will be updated if a response is received.

And the poll from Researchco that prompted the coverage (IMO, questions are tendentious and leading, and the methodology is not that rigorous:
Many B.C. residents are tuned into the practice of birth tourism in Canada and most want the federal government to launch an investigation into it, a new poll suggests.

According to a survey conducted by Research Co., 49 per cent of B.C. residents have been following media coverage of birth tourism – a practice of travelling to a specific country for the purpose of giving birth and securing citizenship for the child.

Canada is one of fewer than three dozen countries that follow the practice of citizenship based on birthplace and some – including Australia and Britain – have modified or ended automatic birthright citizenship in recent years

“Almost half of British Columbians (49 per cent) are following stories about ‘birth tourism,’ compared to just 34 per cent of Albertans.”

But most B.C. residents polled don’t have favourable views of the practice.

According to the survey, 77 per cent of British Columbians say they feel birth tourism can be unfairly used to gain access to Canada’s education, health care and social programs. Meanwhile, 64 per cent worry that birth tourism could displace Canadians from hospitals.

Additionally, 67 per cent of those polled feel birth tourism “can degrade the value of Canadian citizenship,” while 71 per cent agree with the statement that the practice of granting birthright citizenship may have made sense at one point, “but now people have taken advantage of existing rules.”

With that, 82 per cent of B.C. residents said they agree with the federal government establishing a committee to investigate the extent of birth tourism in the country. Just eight per cent disagreed with the idea, while 12 per cent said they weren’t sure.

According to the nation-wide poll, however, support for a new approach to birthright citizenship in Canada is highest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 66 per cent. Alberta follows at 60 per cent, with B.C. standing at 56 per cent hoping for new regulations.

Results are based on an online study conducted from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Source: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/more-than-half-of-b-c-residents-think-birth-tourism-degrades-value-of-canadian-citizenship-poll-1.5093202

Link to poll data: https://researchco.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Tables_BirthTourism_CAN_04Sep2020.pdf

Australian values are the focus of new citizenship test questions

Back to values-based testing.

Will see with the final version is, and the degree to which it has any nuance or not (the question below, given its absence of any discussion of reasonable accommodation, suggests unlikely):

If there’s a clash between a religious so-called law and a parliamentary law, which trumps the other?

That’s just one example of the new types of questions which will appear in the slightly updated citizenship test from November this year as aspiring Austrlaians face a tougher vaules test amid challenges to address social cohesion and foreign interference.

Acting Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge said on Friday that the questions are being inserted to address “our liberal democratic values as opposed to kids facts”.

A new booklet guide will be released to inform people of the changes to the multiple choice test.

Understanding that language acquisition is important for social cohesion and belonging, Mr Tudge announced last week that permanent residents and citizens with poor English skills would be given unlimited language classes but he said there are no plans to introduce an English language test as part of the citizenship process.

Mr Tudge said the questions will be easily understood by anyone who has been in the country for a period of time and who shares Australian values.

Source: Australian values are the focus of new citizenship test questions