Visitor-Visa Refusal Rates on the Rise for Countries in Conflict

Canada’s visitor-visa refusal rate has been soaring in recent years. A Globe and Mail analysis of federal immigration statistics from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows that the visitor visa refusal rate rose from 18 percent of all applications in 2012 to 30 percent by the first quarter of 2018.

There appears to be a disconnect between Canada’s welcoming message to newcomers to Canada and the high rates of refusal to visitors from other countries.

The number of Temporary Resident Visa applications the IRCC processed every year between 2012 and 2017 increased from 1.3 million to 2.3 million, according to the Globe and Mail. Over those five years, the number of refusals has jumped to more than 600,000 in 2017.

What Countries Are Visitors Being Refused From?

Visitor-visa applications to Canada are being refused from all over the world, but particularly from countries in Africa, the Middle East and South America. Over the last two years, 75 percent of applications from Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan were rejected.

Recently, Venezuelans have been sounding alarms about the high rates of refusal for visitors from the South American country. The number of visitor-visa applications that have been refused from Venezuela has more than doubled in recent years since the country has fallen into economic and political crisis.

Canada refused 216 such applications from Venezuela in November of 2016, and that number rose to 468 in March of this year.

Are Visa Refusals Discriminatory?

Many believe that the nature of Canada’s visa application refusals has become discriminatory. While Canada’s federal department of immigration says it has not changed its visa policies for Venezuelan nationals, Canadians from Venezuela disagree. Some are saying their family members are being penalized because of the country they live in.

The federal government says every applicant is given the opportunity to state their case for a visa and must provide relevant documentation and information to support their case.

Visitor-Visa Criteria

According to the Canadian government, in order to qualify for a travel visa to Canada, visitors must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid travel document, like a passport;
  • Be in good health;
  • Have no convictions;
  • Convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country;
  • Convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit; and
  • Have enough money for your stay.

One thing is for certain: Canada’s rising visa refusal rates can impact the international community’s opinion of Canada as an open and welcoming nation.