24 October 2012

Canada to adopt ETA system

In the latest Canadian immigration bill to be tabled in Parliament, immigration officials have revealed plans to roll out an Electronic Travel Authorisation system for countries not requiring a Canada visa, similar to systems already in place in the US and Australia.

Canada visa

Canada could soon join Australia and the US in implementing an ETA system.

Canada signed an agreement with the US last year to better monitor perimeter security, requiring foreign nationals to fill out online forms on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

Both Australia and the US already run Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) systems and Alexis Pavlich, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, says the new system will make border security much more efficient.

"The [ETA] program will be a new tool to manage migration that will allow Canada to identify inadmissible persons overseas at the earliest possible opportunity," said Ms Pavlich.

"It will allow the government of Canada to prevent inadmissible visa-exempt foreign nationals from travelling to Canada while facilitating travel for those who are low-risk.

"The ETA program will allow travellers to be screened before they depart for Canada."

While details are still to be revealed regarding the specifics of the system, if the system is comparable to others, it is likely to involve personal details and some basic questions, although the American ETA system involves more security and health based questions than its Australian equivalent.

Ms Pavlich said the new ETA system would simply be a first step in the process of travelling to Canada and rejected applicants could appeal at local visa offices.

However, the main benefit would be the expediency of processing legitimate travellers' authorisations.

"This will have benefits in terms of reduced costs and resources required to process inadmissible persons in Canada and could allow for low-risk foreign national travellers to be facilitated and processed more quickly on arrival," said Ms Pavlich.

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

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