Canada Welcomes More Global Travelers: Visa-Free Access to 13 New Countries
- Canada has expanded visa-free travel to 13 more countries, with two additions from Africa.
- The policy change aims to promote tourism, business, and foster global relations.
- Though beneficial to travelers, this move notably excludes Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.
Canada: A More Accessible Destination
In a progressive move, Canada has extended the privilege of visa-free travel to an additional 13 countries, situated in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. This takes the total number of countries enjoying visa-free access to the maple leaf country to 63, the United States included. This move aims to encourage both leisure and business trips to Canada, making it a more accessible destination to international travelers.
Unfortunately, Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by population and influence, does not find a place in this expanded list, raising eyebrows and leading to speculation.
Newly Included Countries
The new beneficiaries of Canada’s relaxed travel norms are a diverse group of nations. Here’s the complete list of countries now added to the visa-free entry by air program:
- Morocco (Africa)
- Seychelles (Africa)
- Antigua and Barbuda (Americas)
- St Lucia (Americas)
- Trinidad and Tobago (Americas)
- St Kitts-Nevis (Americas)
- Panama (Americas)
- Argentina (Americas)
- Costa Rica (Americas)
- Uruguay (Americas)
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Americas)
- Thailand (Asia)
- Philippines (Asia)
Citizens of these countries can now plan a trip to Canada without the hassle of visa procedures.
Strengthening Global Bonds
By extending the visa-free travel privilege to Morocco and Seychelles, Canada is signaling its intention to strengthen ties with the African continent. Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, notes that expanding the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program to allow ‘known travelers’ from these countries to visit Canada for fun and business.
Fraser emphasizes that the expanded list will facilitate easier, cheaper travel for these ‘known travelers’, and will serve to boost tourism, business, and international relations with the newly included 13 nations. “The visa exemptions can lead to significant savings for travelers from these countries,” Fraser explains.
To put this into perspective, a visitor visa currently costs $100 per person and $500 for a family of five or more. Conversely, an eTA only costs $7 per person and is valid for up to five years.
Prioritizing Job Market Needs
In a related development, Canada has also announced a list of jobs that will receive priority for the Express Entry visa. Jobs in teaching and plumbing are among several professions on this priority list. The initiative aims to meet the needs of the job market and fill gaps in these professions. Therefore, skilled foreign workers in these listed fields stand a better chance of acquiring a visa through the Express Entry system.
With its recent changes in immigration policies, Canada is undoubtedly becoming more welcoming to international visitors and skilled workers. However, the notable exclusion of Nigeria from the expanded visa-free access list presents a topic for further exploration. As Canada continues to strengthen its global connections, the world watches in anticipation to see what further developments are to come.