Canada would consider lifting visa requirements for Antigua-Barbuda if the two-island state improve its programs – Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

HALIFAX  – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government will consider lifting visa requirements for Antiguan and Barbudans if “significant improvements” were made to their country’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP).

At a recent town hall meeting here, Trudeau was asked about the visa  situation.

A member of the audience from Antigua and Barbuda asked the prime minister what can be done to improve the relationship between Canada and Antigua and Barbuda following the  visa restrictions imposed by  Canada.

“And does it mean the termination of the Citizenship by Investment Program?”

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 programs, 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 fairly 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.