Spencer Colby The Canadian Press Justin Trudeau has hinted that he has asked the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to change their minds when it comes to time to grant visas.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to make obtaining temporary visas easier for applicants. He wants the migration system to be less concerned about the risks of a visitor staying in the country past the expiry date of this document.
“Let's be honest, the system is still based on the ability of the applicant to prove that he will not stay in the country if he comes here. It is easier for him to convince the authorities to get a visa if he has a good job, a house and a good status at home,” he said.
During meeting with about 25 nursing students from Algonquin College in Ottawa on Friday, some told Mr. Trudeau about problems with visas.
A student has shared how she felt alone and isolated when she was hospitalized for a seven-month period in Canada. Her mother tried twice to obtain a visa to visit her, but each time her request was rejected.
Mr. Trudeau responded by saying that it was vital for Canadians to have faith in the integrity of the immigration system. However, he hinted that he had asked the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to change its mentality when it comes to granting visas.
“We have to stop saying that people who choose to stay are bad people, that it's not a good thing, he said. Our Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, is working hard to try to change the way immigration is judged and to make sure people come to settle here.
The prime minister admitted to the student that the department had made a mistake in refusing to grant a visa to her mother.
“For Canadians, it would seem like an injustice if there was a roundabout way to get a visa. You have to find a balance. But I understand you. Your mother should have been allowed to come see you. »
Mr. Trudeau recalled that many people ask to come and settle in Canada because of the many crises they are going through at home.
He recognizes that the federal government must be careful to help immigrants prosper in Canada or Canadians may begin to resent immigration.
“An anti-immigrant party would find it difficult to succeed in Canada, because many Canadians understand the importance of immigration. We must protect the fact that Canadians support immigration.
For example, Mr. Trudeau said that the housing stock must be sufficient to accommodate new families. He suggested that immigration could help solve this problem.
“There is a shortage of labor in the construction sector. If we attract more people who can build houses, we will solve the lack of housing. There are solutions. One of them is to speed up the processing of applications by using digital means and computers. »
The immigration department's slowness and refusal to grant visas is infuriating many stakeholders, even globally.
Entire roundtables scheduled for next month in Montreal are on hold as , in several cases, six participants in an activity have not yet obtained their visas to enter Canada.
The International Studies Association will hold its annual conference in Montreal in mid-March. Its director, Mark Boyer, admits that these visa problems are “extremely frustrating” and difficult for the organizers to manage.
According to the director of activities at the International Studies Association, Jennifer Fontanella, about 600 of the 6,000 scholars invited to the event in Montreal have visa problems, 80 of whom have been refused; hundreds more are awaiting a decision and at least a hundred have withdrawn from the international meeting.
Last September, many delegates reported similar issues when they tried to attend the American Political Science Association conference in Montreal. And in December, hundreds of delegates from developing countries missed the COP15 conference in Montreal due to visa problems, which stemmed in part from the late issuance of accreditations by the United Nations.
Last summer, the Canadian Department of Immigration caused an uproar by refusing visas to several African delegates who wanted to attend the International AIDS Conference, also held in Montreal, and some participants spoke openly about racism. /p>
Department data updated on Tuesday shows the average processing of visa applications for people based in Britain takes 217 days, and 212 days for people in France. Citizens of these countries do not need a visitor's visa to come to Canada, but scholars from many developing countries who are based in Paris or London do need a visa to attend a conference in Montreal.< /p>
“The Department of Immigration is working with organizers of international events taking place in Canada to coordinate the processing of temporary visa applications for delegates and participants,” a department spokesperson said, Jeffrey MacDonald, in an email.
According to him, several elements can influence the speed with which a file is processed, such as the accuracy of the information requested or the resources and personnel made available to the department .