The visa conundrum as Chinese New Year approaches

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The visa headache as the Chinese New Year approaches

The very high cost of plane tickets, the limited number of flights and the blocking of visas complicates the reunification of Chinese-Canadian families.

In addition to the exorbitant cost of plane tickets, the visa blockage makes it difficult for Chinese families to come to Canada.

China ended mandatory quarantines on arrival on Sunday on its territory, the last remnant of its strict “zero COVID” health policy, but other difficulties persist for some travelers wishing to visit family in Canada for Chinese New Year at the end of January.

Olivier Brault has been waiting for the visitor's visa for his in-laws in Shanghai for more than five months. They planned to come and celebrate this traditional holiday in Canada. Usually, the visa is issued in two or three weeks, he says.

I tried to write to the consulate in Shanghai, says Mr. Brault . They got back to me, but they said they couldn't help me.

After that, I wrote to Immigration. It's just that there really isn't a specific subpoena date, he continues. There is a website with a form I filled out. But it still remains unanswered.

The “super visa” for parents and grandparents allows travelers eligible to visit family in Canada for a longer period of time than on a visitor visa.

This situation is unfortunately not an isolated case, notes Benjamin Brunot, an immigration lawyer.

Often, we see this kind of situation where people wait for months, where nothing happens because no agent opened the file. Sometimes it can take months before they receive an acknowledgment, [sign] that a human being has touched the request.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) was recently singled out for unusually long delays in processing certain files. And for good reason: lost in the limbo of the administrative system, they were assigned to inactive agents.

Contacted by Radio-Canada, IRCC was unable to provide visa response for Chinese travelers.

For their part, the Chinese immigration services have announced the gradual resumption, from January 8, of the issuance of passports for tourism purposes or for visiting friends abroad. Procedures have so far been suspended due to the epidemic, which has prevented some Chinese from renewing their passports.

With the lifting of restrictions in China, however, the return to normality is still far from certain. You have to understand that coming to Canada is a bit like an obstacle course, says Winston Chan, member of the organizing committee of the Lunar New Year Festival in Montreal.

It's disheartening for many Chinese Canadians here because the pandemic has been very difficult, he adds.

Faced with an outbreak of contamination in China since the abandonment of most health measures in early December, several countries have tightened their requirements for welcoming travelers from China. Since January 5, Canada has required all air passengers from China to have a negative PCR test to enter its territory.

China has seen an upsurge in the number of cases of COVID-19 contamination since the abandonment of several health measures in early December.

The surge in the number of COVID-19 patients in China comes just weeks before the Lunar New Year, when millions of people will travel to reunite with loved ones. During this period, the price of plane tickets is often very high.

If you choose a flight between Paris and Montreal, for example, there are several French and Canadian companies that do so. at low price. If you go to China, especially with direct flights, there are not many companies, recalls Professor Mehran Ebrahimi, from the Department of Management and Technology at UQAM.

It is necessary to pay between 4000 and 5000 $ for such a trip, specifies Rui Liu, who hoped that his mother would come to help him in March for the birth of his newborn. However, she was unable to find an affordable plane ticket until November.

According to information from Gabrielle Proulx and the #x27;Agence France-Presse

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