Canada lifts visa ban on 15 African nations

Written by By Tim Cocks, CNN Staff

If you are traveling through Canada with children or you are from one of 17 African nations and have broken a travel ban, including a pre-existing one on six other nations, you might want to get ready to say bye bye.

Citizens of Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Chad and Uganda were added to the list Monday. Those include the handful of countries that were affected by the Canadian bans before.

The lifting of the prohibition on travellers coming from North Korea and Cuba was the impetus for the movement of the 34 new countries into the Canada travel ban.

The movement of countries to the list stems from the 8 September announcement from Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, who outlined the steps the government would take to lift the travel ban after a review of the Visa Waiver Program.

The program, which permits nationals of participating countries to travel to Canada without a visa for short-term stays of up to 90 days, has faced scrutiny from the Canadian government since February.

“The visa waiver program is intended to encourage regular, informed and seamless travel between Canada and participating countries,” said Hussen. “However, with the exception of Cuba and North Korea, it has operated in a manner that has forced limited access to a high proportion of citizens of participating countries.”

Travel advisories

In addition to the move on North Korea and Cuba, the Canadian government is updating its travel advisories for the banned countries, advising that all citizens should be aware of security risks and potential travel restrictions in the country.

“Government-led investigations have uncovered a pattern of unacceptable exploitation by criminal networks of migrant workers forced to operate in abusive, exploitative and, at times, deadly conditions,” said the travel advisory.

“Citizens of the targeted countries were vulnerable to exploitation and exploitation by traveling guides and others; and often received poorly paid work on exploitative farms and construction sites.

“Other dangers, such as killings of people involved in migrant labor, smuggling and human trafficking, migration crime and labor trafficking, can also occur.”

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