PORT OF SPAIN: The Canadian government has announced the opening of a new visa application centre (VAC) in Port-of-Spain, making the process of applying for a visa to enter Canada “easier and more convenient”.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced plans to expand its VAC network around the world to provide administrative support to applicants before, during and after their temporary resident application is assessed by a CIC immigration officer.
According to a release, VAC service agents are available by phone, email or in person to answer questions in local languages and to make sure that applications are complete.
“It is important to note that VACs are not involved in the decision-making process and are not authorized to provide applicants with advice about their visas,” the statement said. “Applications received through the VAC or online are processed on a priority basis and are typically finalized in half the amount of time of other applications.”
Canada wants to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth by attracting an increasing number of visitors and international students, as well as skilled temporary foreign workers and immigrants that “best respond to current and future labour market needs, the statement said.
“For this reason, CIC strives to issue visas and permits as quickly as possible to facilitate travel to Canada,”
The announcement comes as Canada has imposed new travel requirements for nationals from two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
In Jamaica, the Canadian High Commission said new regulations enforced by CIC would affect nationals from Jamaica and Haiti wanting to visit, work or study in Canada.
The High Commission said nationals from these two CARICOM countries will be required to give fingerprints and photographic data when they apply for visas and permits.
Last year, Canada imposed new travel requirements on nationals from St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines on the grounds of unreliable travel documents.
CIC said the changes would allow it and its partners “to ensure that those seeking to visit Canada intend to return to their country of origin, rather than overstaying or committing other immigration violations”.
The new measures were criticized by the governments of the two CARICOM countries.