Canada paused processing of visa applications in Ebola infected countries

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Ottawa: Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced new precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

Effective immediately, Canadian visa officers have temporarily paused the processing of visa applications from foreign nationals who have been physically present in a country designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having widespread and intense transmission of the Ebola virus. Discretion will remain for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant entry on a case-by-case basis in exceptional cases where travel is essential and in Canada’s interest.  Apart from those instances, temporary resident applications already in process that are affected by these new measures will be returned to the applicants.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents, foreign nationals currently in possession of a visa and foreign nationals who do not require visas will continue to be screened at ports of entry in Canada and will be subject to appropriate health screening and other measures under the Quarantine Act.

These changes do not impact Canadians currently in West Africa. All Canadians, including health-care workers, currently in West Africa will be permitted to travel back to Canada. The Government of Canada continues to advise against travel to countries designated by the WHO as having widespread and intense transmission of the Ebola virus.

Ministerial Instructions providing new directions to visa officers worldwide were published in the Canada Gazette today.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting international efforts to control the Ebola outbreak. Canada has been a world leader in responding to the crisis and continues to monitor the situation in the West Africa region to ensure humanitarian, health and security needs are met.

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister said, “Canada has been a leader in the international efforts to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The precautionary measures announced today build on actions we have taken to protect the health and safety of Canadians here at home. Our government continues to monitor the situation in West Africa very closely and will continue to act in the best interests of Canadians.

Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health said , “All levels of government and the health sector are working together to ensure that Canadians are safe and prepared in the event of a case of Ebola in Canada. Our number one priority is to protect Canadians. We continue to work with domestic and international partners to aid efforts to respond to the outbreak in West Africa, while strengthening our domestic preparedness here at home.”