Botswana on Monday denied suggestions by some sections of the local media that the Canadian government has repealed the exemption of Botswana passport holders from visa requirements because of alleged poor quality of the country’s passport.
Botswana recently introduced a new e-passport, which has machine-readable electronic features embedded in a micro-processor chip.
Last week Canada decided to repeal the exemption of Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia passport holders from visa requirements citing the level of immigration violation which it was unacceptably high for countries benefiting from visa freedom.
“Our passport cannot be the issue; the quality of our passports is good. The problem is that some people have exploited the good relationship that we have with Canada,” said Botswana’s Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu.
Batshu added; “What I know is that there are many Batswana asylum seekers in Canada. As to how they gained entry into that country is still a mystery and that is why Canada could have applied stringent measures.”
The three countries’ citizens who held valid passports were previously exempted from applying for visas.
However, for what Canada now terms as unreliability in the authenticity of travel documents from these countries, the exemption is being annulled.
Canada’s Citizen and Immigration minister, Mr. Jason Kenney was quoted as saying: “These changes are necessary because all countries concerned have an immigration violation rate of over thirty per cent, well above the level we deem acceptable for countries benefiting from a visa exemption.”
Apparently, citizens from these countries were able to legally change their names to acquire new passports allowing them to re-enter Canada with new passports after being deported from the country.
Source African Press Agency
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