Canada’s immigration minister has made it clear there are no plans to grant visa-free travel to Ukrainians in the near future.
A letter from John McCallum came in response to a petition from submitted to the House of Commons back in June.
In it he said there would be no formal review of the visa requirement by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
“Given the importance of Canada’s relationship with Ukraine, officials have been closely monitoring migration trends and country conditions in Ukraine,” McCallum wrote.
Canada’s Visa-Free Travel Negotiations
|Ukraine||Visa required: No changes planned|
|Mexico||Visa requirement ends November 30, 2016|
|Bulgaria||Visa required: Negotiations ongoing|
|Romania||Visa required: Negotiations ongoing|
“At this time, Ukraine falls short of the thresholds Canada uses to gauge suitability for a visa exemption,”
There had been some talk of action around lifting the visa requirement following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in July.
But the talk all came from the Ukrainian side. Trudeau nor McCallum have stated they were part of formal visa talks.
Canada is currently part of debates with several countries concerning visa liberalization.
Trudeau recently moved to lift the current requirement for Mexican travellers, despite receiving advice to the contrary from Canadian immigration officials.
From December 1, Mexicans will not need to apply for a separate visa to visit Canada. However, they will require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA).
The EU and Canada are currently negotiating on a number of different fronts, including visa reciprocity and a free trade deal that is several years in the making.
New EU rules say countries granted visa-free travel to the Schengen zone must do the same in return for all member states.
Canada currently requires a visa for Romanians and Bulgarians, saying it does not operate a reciprocal policy when it comes to visas.
Key Facts on Canada-EU Visa Reciprocity
- EU introduced rule in 2014 saying all countries with visa-free access must provide same privilege for all member states.
- Countries including Canada and US given two years to comply.
- Canada does not allow visa-free travel for Bulgarians or Romanians.
- Deadline expired on April 12, was extended to July 12.
- No agreement likely to mean Canadians will need visas to travel to Schengen area (not including UK and Ireland).
- Romanians using recent lifting of Mexican visa requirement as part of their argument.
An April 12 deadline was set for an agreement to be reached, and this was extended to July 12 when no deal was forthcoming.
Immigration Minister John McCallum flew to Brussels for talks in July, but the outcome was only a holding statement. It seems neither side has the appetite to impose a visa, which would dramatically increase administrative costs.
These negotiations took place as Canada was trying to get the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal ratified.
Key Facts on CETA
- Canada-EU trade deal has been 7 years in the making.
- Would eliminate duties on thousands of products, covering 95 per cent of everything Canada sells to Europe
- Would give Canada car manufacturers, plus beef and pork producers, significant access to EU markets.
- Initially faced fierce opposition in France and Germany.
- Opposed by one of Belgium’s four parliamentary houses.
- Romania has linked its support for deal directly to visa reciprocity.
- Formal signing of deal was expected in October, but now likely to de delayed.
- ‘Brexit’ created further uncertainty due to Britain’s involvement in the deal.
It is due to be signed in October, although Romanian officials have been outspoken in tying their support for the deal to the visa reciprocity disagreement.
Meanwhile, Britain`s vote to exit the EU has also thrown the deal into doubt.
British lawmakers are said to have been the driving force behind getting the agreement on the table.
Some analysts expect the deal to go through in its current form, with Britain’s future involvement becoming part of talks on its EU departure. The deal is expected to boost trade by 20 per cent between the two sides.
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