Listening test: Canadian citizenship
A. are required to have lived in Canada for 4 years.
B. must be between 18 and 54.
C. must have a specific level of English.
2. In Ermias Yoseph’s opinion, meeting the requirements is hard for immigrants because
A. a large number of them are not educated.
B. of their age.
C. they are living in difficult conditions.
3. In the past, immigrants
A. didn’t have to prove their knowledge of English.
B. didn’t have to do any tests.
C. had to prove their knowledge of Canadian culture.
4. Ermias Yoseph says that
A. some immigrants will never meet the requirements.
B. the requirements are fair.
C. the requirements don’t make any sense.
5. Ermias Yoseph also says that some immigrants
A. are making a great effort to learn.
B. can’t find work because they don’t have the citizenship.
C. don’t have the time to attend school.
Every year, about 170,000 immigrants to Canada become citizens. But becoming a citizen has become increasingly difficult. In 2010, the federal government changed the citizenship test, requiring a higher score to pass and making the questions more challenging. Then, in November of 2012, the rules were changed again so that newcomers between 18 and 54 must prove they have a Canadian Language Benchmark score of four before they can apply for citizenship. In this interview, Terry MacLeod interviews Ermias Yoseph of Welcome Place about how these changes are affecting newcomers in Manitoba.
How hard is it for newcomers to reach this benchmark level of four?
Considering the background where most of these refugees come from it’s very hard because most of our clients because of unfortunate circumstances did not have an opportunity to go to school or to get a formal education and now to require them to obtain a benchmark level of four and above is very hard for them.
How did it work before these rules came into effect?
Before these rules came into effect you didn’t have to have a required benchmark level as long as you have adequate knowledge of Canadian history and you are able to communicate in English you can and then as long as you’ve lived for about three years in Canada, you are able to apply. It was not mandatory to have a benchmark level of four and above.
Is it fair though to expect people to have a certain level of English in order to function in Canadian society?
I understand the reasoning behind this requirement. It’s a to allow or to assist newcomer families, including refugee newcomers, to be able to communicate effectively or to be able to find work easily. But it should also be understood that most of these refugees did not have a formal education. Some of them never went to school in their lives. So it’s very difficult for them to attain that. Some may not ever, may never be able to attain the benchmark level four, so considering those facts, I don’t think it’s fair for refugee families.
Now the government says the rules are in place because better English leads to greater work success for newcomers. Are these rules encouraging people to work harder because they aim for a benchmark level of four, and therefore they say, I’m going to get that, I’m going to work really hard?
Some of these people actually from the time they arrived in Canada, they’ve been attending school. They realize that it’s important for them to know the language or to have the language skills in order to be successful at work. They’ve been attending school, I know …, they’ve been attending school since they came to Canada, they’ve been working, they know that it helps but the same time, it’s also bringing some obstacles for them to be able to apply for Canadian citizenship but it’s an ongoing problem.
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