Canada withholds Visas to Residents of Countries with Ebola
As recently reported by the National Post – Simlilar to Australia’s stance in the matter, Canada has closed its doors to people from the West African countries battling Ebola.
Canada’s Stance Regarding Visas and the Ebola Threat
Kevin Menard, a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, said Canada’s policy and the one adopted by Australia are “considerably different.”
“We have instituted a pause, but there is room for discretion if we can be assured that someone is not infected with Ebola, doing anything we can to keep Ebola from coming to Canada. Governments have the duty to take actions they deem appropriate to protect the health, safety and security of their citizens. Canada, upon reviewing the evidence, has come to the conclusion that visa restrictions of this kind are appropriate to achieve that goal in respect of the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.” Kevin Menard stated in a recent email.
Visa Suspensions for Residents and Nationals of Ebola Sticken Countries
The federal government is suspending visas for residents and nationals of countries with “widespread and persistent-intense transmission” of Ebola virus disease. As well, work on permanent residence applications for people from the affected countries is also being suspended. Only three countries meet the definition of widespread and persistent Ebola transmission: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
As well, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander retains the discretion to grant entry on a case-by-case basis in exceptional circumstances “where travel is essential and in Canada’s interest. The precautionary measures announced today build on actions we have taken to protect the health and safety of Canadians here at home,” said Alexander.
Canada’s Chooses to Air on the Side of Caution
Canada has not cancelled visas that have been issued but not yet used. But the country is reaching out to people who are in this situation to make sure they understand they will be required to undergo health screening when they arrive in Canada.
We will report more on this and other related immigration stories as the information becomes available.
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About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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