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St. John’s South-Mount Pearl NDP MP Ryan Cleary said he’s shocked by the visa denials and he has written to Kenney.
“I am sure that the CYC world conference is going to be a big success, but the fact that only three of the 187 child-care professionals from developing countries have been allowed to enter Canada really puts a chill into the relationship that Canadians are used to having with the world,” Cleary said in a email.
Cleary said he spoke about the issue with NDP immigration critic Jinny Simms, who told him the problem exists for people from developing countries who want to visit not just this province, but across the country and the acceptance rates across visa offices in various countries are not equal.
For instance, he said applications in India dip to about 50 per cent.
Cleary said it seems some countries are targeted, or else policies on how decisions are made are unfairly affecting applicants from certain countries more than others. Many are rejected due to lack of travel history.
“I’m concerned about this not only because of the damage it will do to our tourism economy, but because these decisions have also impacted our health-care professionals, the reunification of families and, in the example of the CYC world conference, even the transfer of ideas across borders,” Cleary said. “We are in a time when we need intelligent professionals to come to Canada. Why would any intelligent professional want to move to Canada to be part of our economy, and to bring their expertise to our lives, if they are not even allowed to visit first?”
In an email statement, Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokeswoman Nancy Caron said the department understands that people are disappointed when their visa applications are refused.
"However, our responsibility is to make sure that all applicants meet the requirements to come to Canada, as set out in Canada’s immigration law," she said. "When a visa officer refuses an application, it is because the applicant does not meet the requirements set out in Canada’s immigration law."
Visa applications are considered on a case-by-case basis on the specific facts presented by the applicant, Caron said.
"The onus is on the applicant to show that they meet the requirements for a temporary resident visa. Decisions are made by highly trained visa officers in accordance with Canadian immigration law."
Caron also said all applications from around the world are assessed equally against exactly the same criteria, regardless of their country of origin.
"There is no quota on any country for visitor visa applications," she said, adding visa officers look at the purpose of the visit and the applicant’s ties to his or her home country, including the family and economic situation.
Meanwhile, Modlin said there are still some spots available for the conference and anyone interested can check it out at www.cycworld2013.net