ALBERTA, CANADA, April 6, 2014 (Canadian Bhutanese Society Alberta): The first group of 18 Canadian Bhutanese Society members, who are resettled in Southern Alberta since 2009, have received Canadian citizenship. The special ceremony was held in Lethbridge Court on the 5th of April 2014. The ceremony was held in four groups by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which was presided over by Citizenship Judge at Lethbridge Court House. Present as special guest on the occasion were Federal MP Jim Hillyer, MLA for Lethbridge East Bridget A Pastoor and Mayor Chris Spearman, City of Lethbridge.
Under third country resettlement process, Bhutanese started coming to Canada since 2008 after spending about two decades in refugee camps in Nepal. Lethbridge has the largest population Bhutanese resettled in Canada. There are about 800 Bhutanese who call the city of Lethbridge home. A second batch of 21 Bhutanese members are in the process to receive citizenship in the coming months.
As per the present policy anyone residing as permanent resident for three complete years are eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration have proposed a new policy to come into effect that the time for qualification to apply has been increased to four years. The requirement to show proof of language at the time of application has now been extended for those aged 14-64. The current Act applies to applicants for ages 18-54. The doubled processing fees are already into effect as per the new policy.