Canadian immigration officials have denied visa applications for 200 would-be participants in the World Social Forum, to begin in Montreal on Tuesday, August 9.
Inadequate financial resources and doubts whether the applicants would leave the country were listed as some of the reasons given by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, with the event organizers and opposition politicians now appealing for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene.
It is believed the vast majority of the denied applications came from invitees from Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Iran, Nigeria, Haiti and Nepal.
Canadian Visit Visa Application: A Two-Step Process
The foreign national must first submit a visit visa application to the responsible Canadian visa office in the country or region where they reside. The applicant may be required to attend an interview where the visa officer will verify the applicant’s reasons for visiting Canada, the applicant’s ability or willingness to leave Canada within the visa validity date and the applicant’s overall admissibility to Canada.
Once a visit visa has been issued, the applicant may land in Canada. At the port of entry an immigration officer will question the applicant to ensure continued admissibility.
Visitors from visa-exempt countries require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if travelling to Canada via air. For more information, click here.
There are 10,000 delegates set to attend the event, which brings together NGOs, advocacy campaigners, plus formal and informal social movements seeking international solidarity. It bills itself as a progressive alternative to the World Economic Forum, a yearly event held in Davos, Switzerland.
Montreal is the first North American city to hold the event, which began in Brazil in 2001.
Organizers issued letters to 2,000 delegates requiring visit visas to attend and also registered the event with IRCC. The letters were intended to be used as a supporting document in the application process.
“If the massive number of refusals raises indignation, the reasons invoked by Canadian officials arouses anger,” a statement from the organizers said.
“These reasons demonstrate that little consideration was given to the people who were invited by, and will be taken care of by Quebec organizations.”
Many of the delegates were still waiting for a decision on their applications on Friday, just four days before the event was due to start.
The organizers are now calling on Immigration Minister John McCallum and Trudeau to make sure all of the invitees are able to enter the country.
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