Beginning on December 1, 2018, all individuals from CARICOM countries who wish to visit Canada will be required to have a personal interview at the High Commission of Canada to Trinidad & Tobago, in Port of Spain. Photographs and fingerprints will be taken of all visa applicants, according to a trusted Canadian Government source. Only the Bahamas and Barbados have been exempted from the application of these new regulations.
While many in the East Caribbean states may consider these new policies both expensive and time-consuming, it is important to remember that we warned everyone last year that stricter visa policies would shortly be implemented, unless the jurisdictions with Citizenship by Investment (CBI or CIP) Programs swiftly upgraded their compliance procedures to the level of Enhanced Due Diligence. Unfortunately, governments in the region not only chose to ignore our warnings, they scoffed at the idea that North American jurisdictions would ever tighten their entry regulations. Canada's actions are simply the direct and proximate result of the failure of the CBI states to institute those effective compliance programs.
One of the major selling points of any of the region's CBI programs is an easy entry to Canada; now CBI passport holders, wherever they are situated in the world, will have to travel to Trinidad, to process for that prized Canadian visa. We wonder how many prospective applicants will choose a CBI jurisdiction outside of the East Caribbean, such as Malta when this Canada news is picked up by the major CBI consultancies.
It is important to note that interview schedules of applicants may be limited, due to the size and availability of the diplomats at the High Commission, that passports may be required to be left with the High Commission for processing, and that there could be additional delays, due to the mandatory checking of fingerprints through law enforcement databases.
A final note; if Enhanced Due Diligence procedures are not now instituted, Canada may impose additional protective measures. We trust that the necessary, and much overdue, EDD is put in place before visa restrictions get even more severe.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant