Tuesday, October 2, 2007 -
More articles in Canadian Visa
The European Commission has criticized about Canada's visa requirements for
the eight recent European Union (EU) members. Canada and the European Union had
a reciprocal visa-free status for visitors until 2004, when Hungary, the Czech
Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Poland joined the EU. Presently,
citizens of these countries, along with those from Romania and Bulgaria (which
became EU member states in 2007) require a
temporary resident visas to visit Canada. As a condition of their entry
into the EU, these eight countries dropped their own visa requirements for
Canadians and are now annoyed that Canada has not responded in turn.
Canada has yet not removed visa requirements for the new EU members because it remains concerned about a possible influx of illegal workers or refugee
claimants. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) was
inundated with refugee claims from Czech Republic and Hungary until 1997 and
2001 respectively after visa requirements were reinstated for these countries.
A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) stated that the
government is now working towards a shared
goals of visa-free travel of all EU citizens to Canada.
This summer, Canada made the process more transparent by outlining nine criteria
that will have to be met before the affected countries are exempted from visa
requirements. Canada will consider each country's recent history in terms of
visa refusal rate, immigration violation rates, and number of refugee claims.
The countries will need to share information with Canada and must demonstrate
that their passport systems are up to international standards. Citizenship and
Immigration Canada representatives will be making technical visits to the
affected countries in November and February to explain the nine criteria to
During the Canada-EU summit in June, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that
the eight affected countries are headed in the right direction and that visa
requirements could be lifted for one or two member states by the end of this
year. The European Commission wants to see further tangible progress towards
reciprocity in the first half of 2008.