(WINN): Until four years ago nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis did not require a visa to travel to Canada. Since then, applications for Canadian visas could be made online.
However, an announcement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Premier of Nevis, Mark Brantley states that effective December 2018 nationals will have to travel to Trinidad and Tobago to apply for a Canadian visa.
“I ought to advise that Canada has advised us that commencing in December of this year getting the visa – and this was one of the things that really occupied a lot of our time because they now say that they are moving to collect biometrics. So, fingerprints and all that, they are moving to that, and in order to collect biometrics, they need to see the person. So, part of the difficulties is that currently to get a visa to Canada you have to apply online. As of December, you’ll have to travel to Trinidad to get that visa, and that for us is obviously a matter that raises some concerns. The cost of travel to Trinidad is extremely high and we feel that is a matter that will be unhelpful if certainly taken to its logical conclusion. It would really ensure that many of us in this room gathered and others listening will never be able to even afford to apply for the visa, far less to get a visa.”
Mr. Brantley addressing the media in Charlestown on Monday (25 June) said the new requirements would effectively be pricing the visa outside the reach of most nationals.
“The example that I use is, if you are a family of four the last I saw, a ticket to Trinidad round trip from here is about US $800. So, if you are paying that money for a family of four you’re talking about say $3,000 – using a round number – for four people to go to Trinidad with no guarantee that you are going to get the visa. Then when you go down there now you still have to spend for hotel and transportation and meals. Then if you are lucky and you come back you now have to think about money to go to Toronto. Our argument is that it is really pricing the visa out of the reach of most of us and that would mean that effectively Canada is taken off the table insofar as people from St. Kitts and Nevis are concerned. I think the Canadian government is very sensitive to that. We have discussed a number of options with them including having a mobile unit that will come to the various territories to seek to collect the biometrics here, and one other option they are considering is they can set up a biometric centre in some place closer than Trinidad.”
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