Date: May 30, 2011, 4:57 pm


CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSION


Recent spate of visa denials at the High Commission seems to suggest that in the coming weeks, months and years, Ghanaian bachelors and spinsters will have a herculean task securing visas to go to Canada regardless of the purpose of visit.

The case might even be worse for first-time travelers and those without personal assets, going by some visa denial letters which Public Agenda has sighted.

In the past week, the High Commission declined to grant visas to three staff members of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) who had been admitted to a two-week PEP-Laval Intensive Graduate School in Development Economics course being organised by the Poverty and Economic Policy (PEP) Research Network.

Indeed, two of them have been denied the visas twice within a space of one week, hence they are unable to attend the course which began on Saturday May 28 and will continue till June 12, 2011.

The refusal of visas has incensed Bishop Akolgo, Executive Director of ISODEC, who says the High Commission’s actions amount to "sabotage of ISODEC’s youth empowerment programme".

A letter from the Officer in charge of Citizenship and Immigration (name undisclosed) at the High Commission to the applicants stated: "Following an examination of your application, I am not satisfied that you meet the requirements of the Act and the Regulations for the reasons explained below. I am therefore refusing your application."

The officer proceeded to explain that the applicants’ travel history, family ties in Canada and Ghana, and personal assets and financial status were unsatisfactory.

The applicants (names withheld) expressed surprise at the reasons because their employers had fully paid for their trip and the Institute which was running the programme had provided proof. The employers had also gone ahead to provide their financial statements to the High Commission.

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