(By Ernesto Cooke) – Data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revealed that Vincentians are among the growing list of Caribbean nationals immigrating to Canada.
The Jamaica Observer data showed that St Vincent and the Grenadines are among the top five Caricom countries where nationals have immigrated to the North American nation since 2015.
The IRCC data also shows that Two Thousand, Three Hundred, and Ten St Vincent nationals have immigrated to Canada since 2015.
On September 12, 2012, the Canadian government implemented visa requirements for St. Vincent mainly due to what it said were “unreliable travel documents” being used by its nationals.
The Canadian government further stated in 2012 that “In particular, criminals from St Vincent can legally change their names and acquire new passports. In some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports”.
The Canadian authorities had also stated that there was an unacceptably high number of asylum claims from St. Vincent at the time.
In November of 2012, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said the OECS sees the matter as ‘troubling and unreasonable.’
“We must reaffirm our profound concern about the manner the Canadian authorities implemented the visa restriction and the visa restriction itself,” he said at a press conference. “We consider it unreasonable; we think that it ought not to have been done and certainly not in the manner in which it has been done.”
The visa restrictions implemented in 2021 are still in place.