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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

30-seconds

Canada's Business Leaders Irked By Hypersensitive Visa Process.

Here's an article I came across that may be suprising to many but to those who have been exposed to the capiciousness of the immigration process in Canada, it shouldn't be suprising. This article details the random nature of the visa process in Canada related to business professionals attempting to get short term visas to enter Canada to do business. I'll pull quotes from the article that really stand out for me:

First...

"In the few minutes immigration officials abroad devote to each application, they are primarily seeking assurance the person will not stay illegally or claim refugee status once here. Immigration officers are also trying to stop applicants who may pose a national security risk or have a criminal record. Finally, they are on the lookout for those with medical conditions that could burden the health care system in Canada. The government usually doesn't have to defend its decision to turn down applicants."

A few minutes - that's all immigration officials have to spend on applications - applications that may take the applicant months to prepare...

Then...

Some business leaders believe the government's visa process isn't transparent enough.

"It's a bit of a black box, is how it comes across," says Yuen Pau Woo, Vice-President and Chief Economist of the Asia Pacific Foundation in Vancouver. "[Foreign corporations] have heard there is a very high degree of fraud in terms of documentation, and the true intention of visitors coming from Canada. But of course we have no access to documents to verify if fraud is involved. We have heard anecdotally that many of these applicants appear to be bona fide businesspeople."

Prashant Ajmera, an immigration consultant with the firm Canada Immigration Visa.com, echoed Mr. Woo, saying restrictions on prospective investors and customers are too tight, particularly for small companies. "[The immigration] officer spends 30 seconds on a particular file and makes a yes or no decision. Meanwhile, this person has spent so much time and energy exploring Canada for business. The whole exercise is frustrating. And there is nothing that you can challenge if you're turned down. You could go to federal court but that is too expensive and long. The trade show would be finished by then."


Is it any wonder that those in the family class andother classes that deal with the CIC experience troubles when this is the experience of those who are offering to bring economic gain to Canada? Let's hope Parliment will look into the broken nature of immigration administration in Canada - we all deserve more than 30-seconds of our government's attention.

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