Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is again appealing to the Canadian Government to make the process of obtaining a Canada visa humane and hassle-free.
Mitchell’s latest appeal came during a meeting on Friday with Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, and former Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Honourable Celina Caesar-Chavannes.
Caesar-Chavannes, who is Grenadian, was accompanied by Canada’s High Commissioner based in Barbados, Marie Legault.
Prime Minister Mitchell reiterated to the delegation the concern of the time and cost involved in the Visa Application Process for Grenadians and other Caribbean nationals to be able to secure a visa for travel to Canada.
Mitchell stressed that this was an issue he previously raised with former Canadian Prime Minister Harper, as well as other government officials over the years.
The Prime Minister emphasised that he was not advocating the total waiver of visas because he understands that individual countries have their own policies and procedures based on their own information; however, he will continue to advocate, on behalf of the citizens of Grenada, that the process for a Canada visa become more humane and hassle-free.
According to the Grenadian leader, having to travel to Trinidad to secure a Canadian visa has been a time-consuming and costly affair, and it can take a toll, especially on the elderly and those who are sick.
The Prime Minister suggested that Canada look into having a Visa Official come into Grenada once a month to help execute the Visa Application Process, and do the same for other regional countries, as schedule permits.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Marie Legault, stated that the Government of Canada has heard the cries of Prime Minister Mitchell and several of his regional colleagues over the years and are indeed working to make the process of visa application a smoother one.
She also stated that they have now reduced the visa form system from long form to short form. The visa application can also now be executed online and transmitted to Trinidad via courier service, without persons having to physically travel to Trinidad to secure a visa as was previously the case.
The High Commissioner stated that the Canadian Government has explored the possibility of having officials visit individual countries periodically to help the visa process, but there is ongoing concern regarding the security and logistics of the visa processing equipment, which renders that suggestion difficult to adopt for now.
Honourable Caesar-Chavannes assured that the Visa Application Process for Caribbean nationals has been consistently on the discussion agenda through several levels of her government because they are aware that Caribbean Governments, including Dr Mitchell, continues to advocate for smoother application procedures for their citizens.