TORONTO, Canada — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government will consider lifting visa requirements for Antiguan and Barbudans if “significant improvements” were made to the citizenship by investment programme (CIP).
He was asked to respond to: “What can be done to repair our relationship with Canada and does it mean the termination of the citizenship by investment programme” at a recent town hall meeting, Antigua News Room reported.
In response, Trudeau said: “We will always ensure Canadians stay protected and if countries like Antigua and Barbuda make the significant improvements and changes necessary to their programmes then we could then look at lifting the visa requirement.”
“What we found in Antigua and Barbuda and other countries is there wasn’t the level of stringency and analysis done to satisfy our high standards on immigration and border control to allow us to continue to have visa-free access for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda,” he added.
Trudeau confirmed discussing the imposition of visas with Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and also said he had no difficulty with CIP as a means of earning income.
But he stressed that Canada will not compromise the security of its citizens.
“We have fairly stringent criteria in Canada around security, around ensuring that travelers who come to Canada are who they say they are. And we have pretty high expectations of countries that do not require visas to come to Canada,” he said.
Trudeau said Canada is “happy to work with countries like Antigua to have them improve their systems so it meets Canada’s high standards.”
“But we will not compromise Canadian safety or border security on the basis of trying to do a favour for another friendly country” he added
When Canada imposed visa restrictions on Antigua last year it did not give a specific reason.