Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that his government will consider lifting visa requirements for Antiguan and Barbudans if “significant improvements” were made to the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
He was asked to respond to “What can be done to repair our relationship with Canada and does it mean the termination of the Citizenship by Investment Programme” at a recent town hall meeting.
In response, the Canadian prime minister said: “We will always ensure Canadians stay protected and if countries like Antigua and Barbuda make the significant improvements and changes necessary to their programmes then we could then look at lifting the visa requirement.”
He said Antigua and Barbuda did not live up to the high standards expected of it. “What we found in Antigua and Barbuda and other countries is there wasn’t the level of stringency and analysis done to satisfy our high standards on immigration and border control to allow us to continue to have visa-free access for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Trudeau admitted to discussing the imposition of visas with Prime Minister Gaston Browne and also said he had no difficulty with CIP as a means of earning income.
But he stressed that Canada will not compromise the security of its citizens.
“We have a fairly stringent criteria in Canada around security, around ensuring that travelers who come to Canada are who they say they are. And we have pretty high expectations of countries that do not require visas to come to Canada.”
Tredeau said Canada is “happy to work with countries like Antigua to have them improve their systems so it meets Canadas high standards.”
“But we will not compromise Canadian safety or border security on the basis of trying to do a favour for another friendly country” he added
When Canada imposed visa restrictions on Antigua last year it did not give a specific reason. However, many residents and pundits speculate that it was as a result of the Citizenship by Investment Programme.