23 May 2012

MEPs unhappy with Canada visa policy

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for the Canadian government to adjust its Canada visa policy to allow all citizens of the European Union to visit the country without the need for a visa.

Canada visa

Canada visa policy currently prohibits Bulgarian, Romanian and Czech citizens from entering the country visa-free.

Citizens of 24 of the EU's 27 nations yet Bulgarians, Romanians and Czechs currently require a Canada visa to enter the country, despite the fact that Canadians can visit all 27 countries visa-free.

The EU is currently negotiating a trade agreement with Canada but the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could depend on the votes of several centre-right, socialist, democratic and liberal MEPs who have warned that they could vote against the agreement if Canada doesn't allow visa-free travel for all EU citizens.

Canadian immigration policy currently requires citizens from Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic to apply for a visa before being allowed to enter the country due to an influx of Romani people claiming to be the victims of state-organised repression, a claim Canada refutes.

However, several MEPs have claimed the policy was 'unjustified' and discriminatory against citizens of the three countries. The MEPs argue that Bulgarians, Czechs and Romanians should be able to benefit from the same policy that Canadians benefit from.

Several MEPs have criticised their colleagues' threats though, claiming Canada should be able to decide who enters the country and not Europe. British MEPs David Campbell Bannerman of the Conservative Party and UK Independence Party (UKIP) MEP Gerard Batten are among those who have defended Canada's right.

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.

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