ARCHIVED — Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Visa Exemption Requirements for Lithuania and Poland)
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Vol. 142, No. 38 — September 20, 2008
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Department of Citizenship and Immigration
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Issue: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in consultation with other federal government departments, has identified older-version Lithuanian and Polish passports as vulnerable to fraudulent use and counterfeiting.
Description: The proposed regulatory amendment will introduce a requirement that citizens of Poland and Lithuania possess a passport containing contactless circuit chip technology, otherwise known as an e-passport, in order to be able to travel to Canada without a temporary resident visa (TRV).
Cost-benefit statement: It is not expected that there will be a significant increase in costs associated with this amendment. In terms of benefits, this amendment will enable Canadian authorities to have a higher level of confidence in, and greater ability to verify, the identities of Polish and Lithuanian citizens presenting themselves at Canada’s borders.
Business and consumer impacts: It is conceivable that there may be an impact on the Canadian tourism industry as some potential visitors from Poland and Lithuania may choose not to obtain an e-passport or a temporary resident visa in order to travel to Canada. The deterrent effect of the e-passport requirement, however, is not expected to be significant.
Domestic and international coordination and cooperation: CIC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will work closely together, as well as with other government departments and interested stakeholders, both within Canada and overseas, to see that the proposed regulation will be implemented effectively via existing structures and processes.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in consultation with other federal government departments, has identified older-version Lithuanian and Polish passports as vulnerable to fraudulent use and counterfeiting.
The objective of the proposed regulatory amendment is to protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration system by reducing the risk that less secure Polish and Lithuanian travel documents will be improperly used or counterfeited by non-bona fide travelers to Canada.
The proposed regulatory amendment will introduce a fourth category of visa exemption into the regulatory framework, specifically, a visa exemption based on a combination of an individual’s citizenship and the type of travel document an individual possesses.
Currently, section 190 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) outlines the circumstances in which foreign nationals are not required to hold a temporary resident visa for travel to Canada. There are three categories that determine the exemptions: the nationality of the individual, the travel document the individual possesses, and/or the purpose for which the individual is seeking to enter or remain in Canada.
Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act requires that visa requirements be outlined in the Regulations. As a result, there are no alternatives to regulation.
Benefits and costs
There will be no significant costs associated with the proposed amendment. The Government of Canada and concerned external stakeholders such as international air carriers currently have resources dedicated to ensuring that travelers to Canada possess the required documentation, including passports and visas. Polish and Lithuanian citizens not in possession of an e-passport and seeking to travel to Canada without the required visa will be denied boarding and instructed to obtain an e-passport or apply for a Canadian TRV with their current valid passport.
In terms of benefits, this amendment will enable Canadian authorities to have a higher level of confidence in, and greater ability to verify, the identities of Polish and Lithuanian citizens presenting themselves at Canada’s borders.
The proposed amendment allows the Government of Canada to facilitate the travel of Polish and Lithuanian citizens to Canada while at the same time reducing the risk that non-bona fide travellers will target less secure older-version Polish and Lithuanian passports for counterfeiting or fraudulent use.
Consultations were undertaken with other federal government departments, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Public Safety Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.
In addition, prior to introducing this regulatory amendment, CIC was in communication with the governments of Poland and Lithuania concerning the security of their older-series passports, recognizing that as members of the European Union, they had already taken steps to introduce more secure travel documents (e-passports). With this in mind, both governments have been advised that CIC intends to introduce a regulatory proposal requiring citizens of Poland and Lithuania to possess an e-passport, effective January 1, 2009, in order to travel to Canada without a temporary resident visa.
The governments of Poland and Lithuania have introduced measures to ensure that their citizens have access to the e-passport and have been informed of the anticipated Canadian requirement.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
The amendment will be communicated to all affected government departments and stakeholders, and is expected to be implemented as of January 1, 2009.
The volume and type of travelers holding Polish and Lithuanian travel documents, including those deemed to be inadmissible to Canada, will be monitored and evaluated with existing databases and according to existing practices.
Acting Director General
Risk Mitigation Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
300 Slater Street
Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations within 15 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Peter MacDougall, Acting Director General, Risk Management Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1 (fax: 613-952-9187; e-mail: Peter.MacDougall@cic.gc.ca).
Ottawa, September 4, 2008
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council
REGULATIONS AMENDING THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS (VISA EXEMPTION REQUIREMENTS FOR LITHUANIA AND POLAND)
1. (1) Paragraph 190(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:
(a) are a citizen of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland or Western Samoa;
(2) Section 190 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
Visa exemption — nationality and documents
(2.1) A foreign national who is a citizen of Lithuania or Poland does not require a temporary resident visa if they hold a machine readable passport that contains a contactless integrated circuit chip and that is issued by Lithuania or Poland, as the case may be.
COMING INTO FORCE
2. These Regulations come into force on January 1, 2009.
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