LETTER OF THE DAY - Canadians shouldn't punish us for abiding by rules

Published: Sunday | November 11, 2012 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I am forced to write regarding the Canadian High Commission, as I do not think it operates under any guidelines. I applied for the first time in 2009 and received a non-immigrant multiple visa valid for three and a half years, which expired in January 2012. During that period, I visited Canada three times, and the longest I stayed there was 10 days.

In May, I applied for another non-immigrant visa using the same documents I used three years ago, including job letter from the same company to which I have been employed for 11 years. After 30 days, I received my passport from the high commission refusing me the visa on the grounds that they are not satisfied that I will return to Jamaica after my visit. This, after visiting and returning home three times.

In a state of shock, I called them, and a recording told me to fax the information, which I did. They replied: "The decision not to issue you a visa had nothing to do with you, as it was quite clear that you honoured the terms and conditions while visiting Canada. The problem is with your host, and you are welcome to apply with any additional information."

WHY PENALISE ME?

How can the high commission penalise someone who it says has honoured the terms and conditions under which the visa was issued? Maybe the person does not even need a host. I checked its website, which said a person should not be refused a non-immigrant visa on the basis of his/her host if he/she qualifies.

I am seeking to spend a few days in Canada not to live, so why is the high commission asking for hosts to be provided for non-immigrant visas?

The high commission needs to realise that it costs almost $40,000 for a family-class non-immigrant application, and it needs to treat persons' applications on an individual basis. It is very easy for the high commission to invite you to reapply, but they need to realise it comes at a cost.

Also, why is it taking the Canadian High Commission almost 30 days to issue a non-immigrant visa? When asked, it says it has a lot of applications to deal with. It is obvious that the high commission needs more staff.

Three years ago, it took the high commission seven days to issue a visa; now it takes 30. After all, we have to pay for the visas, and we expect service.

Treat us with some amount of respect and do not abuse us. With every other country, if you abide by the terms and conditions under which the visa was issued, it is naturally expected that you would automatically qualify to visit again. You should not punish someone for abiding by the rules.

CAROLYN WARREN

Red Hills, St Andrew

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