Canada is gradually not proving itself to be a panacea to the harsh US visa policies that ban individuals from certain countries from crossing its (US) borders, especially for academic associations that resorted to conducting their conferences in Canada.
Some of these associations resorted to moving their conferences to Canada, but with the visa problems that Canada presents currently, a solution is yet to be found.
Some members of the International Studies Association (ISA) took to social media to complain about the alarming rate of visa denials and delays that debarred a good number of their members from attending the annual meeting of their association which will be held in Toronto this week.
The experience with Canada has not been any different from the US
The executive director of ISA, Mark Boyer, said that since the last three years, there had been a relatively consistent number of participants who withdrew their registration for the association’s annual convention at the dying minute due to visa issues. According to him, holding this yearly meeting in either the US or Canada has not made any difference.
Boyer revealed that the number of participants withdrawing in each of the past three years is somewhere around 100 persons. This number changed their travel plans due to their inability to get their visas on time or outright visa denials.
He went on to warn, however, that the number is not specific. Some of the registered persons may have registered way back in October last year while others may have done theirs about 3 to 4 weeks ago. He speculated that North America might be facing a slowed-down visa process.
ISA did not only refund the registration fees for all of its members who could not attend as a result of visa challenges but for the first time, the association set aside $15,000 from which to partially reimburse the visa fees and other travel costs for all individuals who were affected by the visa problem. Only graduates and scholars who didn’t have a full-time permanent position will be reimbursed. Going by this, the association projects to award $300 – $500 to about 30 — 50 people.
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