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Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Canadian double standard ?

What do suspicious political campaign contributions in Quebec have to do with Canadian visa applications in many developing countries ? As Visa Officers like to say – follow the money !

A recent CBC report reveals a shady picture of Canadian engineering corporate giant SNC-Lavalin, trying to buy political influence at home (see link below). This is the same company which has been alleged to have paid millions to bribe governments in North Africa to land lucrative contracts. The RCMP exposed $160 million paid in kickbacks to the notorious Gaddafi family. The Globe and Mail reports the company is being investigated for bribery in Bangladesh. It’s quite a story when considering for years SNC-Lavalin has been a company which the Canadian government has pointed to as an example of Canadian ingenuity and international enterprise and for years assisted its business efforts around the world.

So again – what does this have to do with an nineteen year old applying for a visa in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Nigeria ?

It’s common that when Canadian visa officers assess a study permit [visa] application, the key area under examination is whether there are adequate finances to support the student, and what is the source of the funds. Canadian visa officers implement a ‘Canadian values’ approach that the they do not want to condone the illegal or unethical acquisition of funds. In a ‘developing country’, if a large influx of cash suddenly appears in a sponsor’s account, or funds do not have an accounting of how they are legally earned, then it is almost certain that a visa will be refused. This happens to thousands of student visa applicants each year. The idea is that Canada wants to be at the forefront of responsible and good governance, and does not want to assist nor enhance the black market economies of many countries.

It’s quite an irony for Canada and extremely embarrassing for Canadian efforts abroad, when one of its largest global corporate entities, acts in a manner consistent with the very basis of the simplest of … student visa refusals.



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