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Polish citizens will soon no longer need visas to visit Canada, a
source in Ottawa said.
According to the source, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane
Finley will announce next week that Canada is lifting the visa
requirement for Polish citizens - something that Polish Canadian
groups have spent years advocating.
"They're saying, 'We're a Western liberal democracy, we're with you
in Afghanistan ... why are we not being treated like other
countries?' " the source said.
A spokesperson with Citizenship and Immigration Canada did not
confirm that an announcement is imminent.
Print Edition - Section Front
The lifting of visa requirements for Polish citizens would be the
latest in a series of such changes in Canadian visa policies for
Eastern European countries. In late October of last year, Ms. Finley
announced that citizens of the Czech Republic and the Republic of
Latvia no longer require a temporary resident visa to visit Canada.
(On the other hand, citizens of such countries as Hungary, Romania
and Bulgaria do require visas.)
In all, about 50 countries are exempt from Canadian visa
The relationship between Canada and Poland came into the public
spotlight late last year, after the death of Polish national Robert
Dziekanski in Vancouver. Mr. Dziekanski died within minutes of being
tasered at Vancouver International Airport last October. His death
sparked myriad inquiries in Canada, and prompted Canada's ambassador
to Poland, David Preston, to express his "deep sympathy" to Polish
Poland is Canada's largest economic partner in Central and Eastern
Europe, with more than $1.2-billion in annual trade.
As a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the country
has also dispatched more than 1,000 troops to Afghanistan.
The US didn't though. Although it lifted restrictions for Czechs and Slovaks.
The US didn't though. Although it lifted restrictions for Czechs and Slovaks
Typical of the US, they want a mile and give an inch, I wonder what our American Polish friends have to say on this matter?
The Czech’s and others are still currently subject to visa requirements. New regulations may be in place in 2009.
So, why the visa restrictions? It is based on historical compilations on the proclivity for certain nationalities to remain beyond their legal stay. Poles have a tendency to not only overstay but to make their presence permanent hence the additional restrictions.
The visa requirement for Poles to enter the US is in place precisely because too many Poles are in the US illegaly. According to the New York Times, 90% of Poles who apply for a tourist visa are given one, and 30% of the Poles who go to the US end up overstaying their visas. To qualify for the US State Dept's Visa Waiver Program, a country's citizens have to average an overstay percentage rate of less than 3%.
As for Czechs and Slovaks not needing a visa, is that just proposed legislation? Or has it been approved by Congress (they are the ones who make the decision about who qualifies for the Visa waiver program- the State Dept just enforces it)? If so, forum members might be interested to know that virtually every session of Congress in the last twenty years has had legislation introduced (usually by Polish-American pols) to remove the visa requirement, but it always dies in committee, never getting to a floor vote.
Just looked at the State Dept's website, and I was wrong. It isn't 3%, it's 2%. And it is caluclated in part with the ratio of immigrant visas given out. Seeing as Poland has been barred from the immigrant visa lottery (the 'green card' lottery) for the next few years due to the high number of immigrant visas given for familial purposes, I don't see a change happening for Poles in the near future.
I don't think Poles will be rushing to go to the states anyway, given the economic situation.
I think Poles are rushing to the States both legally and illegally. The following is taken from the US State Dept's instructions on how to apply for an immigrant visa ('green card' now called the 'Diversity Visa'):
"For Diversity Visa-2009, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of the previous five years."
Poland is one of the countries. This is the second year Poland has been on the list. If so many Poles are not going to the US as you suggest Ania, why did the US put further restrictions on immigrant visas for Poles and why does it continue to demand tourist visas for Poles? I think it is because so many Poles do want to go to the US.
Maybe some of the forum members who are natives of other countries (UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia, etc) answer this for me. Is immigration with a path to citizenship possible in your respective countries available for people without family ties to the country? In other words, can I (an American) decide one day that I want to emigrate to Germany and become a German citizen without having German family/ancestors? A friend who worked in the British Consulate in Chicago told me several years ago it was all but impossible in the UK, but maybe it has changed...
One last little thing - another country listed as not eligible for the Diversity Visas- 'United Kingdom (except for Northern Ireland'
Is Northern Ireland so nice no one wants to leave? Any comments, Claire?
In other words, can I (an American) decide one day that I want to emigrate to Germany and become a German citizen without having German family/ancestors?
It wouldn't be possible in Germany. There rules are very strict. Turks born there aren't even classed as full Germans.
In other European countries it is possible. There's some sort of six year rule. Be in the country for six years and you can apply for citizenship. The rules are now in the process of being tightened up. Al Fayed (Dodi's father and owner of Harrods) has applied many times and always been refused.
Giving birth to children in Britain does not now give British Citizenship. One of the parents has to be British.
Something from the BBC on how to obtain British citizenship:-
German citizenship is based primarily on the principle of Jus sanguinis. In other words one usually acquires German citizenship if a parent is a German citizen, irrespective of place of birth.
Similarly if a child is born to a British man and a Polish woman in Poland the child would be British.
"over the period of the previous five years"
Yes they are retrospective statistics. I don't think Poles will be rushing to the states in the future, particularly when there is plenty of work in Europe as more countries open up their work restrictions.