ARCHIVED — Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Taiwan)

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Vol. 144, No. 25 — December 8, 2010

Registration

SOR/2010-265 November 22, 2010

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT

P.C. 2010-1399 November 12, 2010

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsections 5(1) and 14(2) and section 26 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote a), hereby makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Taiwan).

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS (TAIWAN)

AMENDMENT

1. Subsection 190(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Prote c tion Regulations (see footnote 1) is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (d), by adding “or” at the end of paragraph (e) and by adding the following after paragraph (e):

(f) hold an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number of the individual.

COMING INTO FORCE

2. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Executive summary

Issue: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) intends to facilitate business exchanges with Taiwan, improve commercial relations, and increase tourism, while strengthening ties to existing Taiwanese communities in Canada and cultural relations with Taiwan. Taiwan passport holders are currently required to apply for and obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) before travelling to Canada. A comprehensive review of the conditions and trends in Taiwan has shown that TRV refusal rates and the number of immigration violations, removals, and asylum claims by Taiwan passport holders are low. CIC therefore proposes to facilitate travel for ordinary Taiwan passport holders.

Description: The regulatory amendment exempts holders of an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number of the individual from the TRV requirement for travel to Canada. Section 190(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Regulations) is amended to include holders of an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number of the individual amongst the list of documents exempt from a TRV before travelling to Canada. Holders of Taiwan passports that do not contain a personal identification number (“compatriot passports”) will continue to be visa-required for travel to Canada.

Cost-benefit statement: There will be no implementation costs associated with this new measure. The fiscal impact of this measure, arising from foregone revenue from visa application fees, will be funded from existing departmental reference levels. Furthermore, any cost savings for the Government of Canada from this initiative would be minimal given that infrastructure costs abroad cannot easily be recuperated and no immediate changes to the overseas network are proposed at this time. Any residual savings will be reallocated to pressure points elsewhere in the overseas network, to areas where temporary resident work has shifted and seen significant increases in the last several years. Exempting holders of these documents from the TRV requirement will have a positive impact on Canada by facilitating business exchanges with Taiwan, improving commercial relations, and increasing tourism from Taiwan. Exempting holders of ordinary Taiwan passports from the TRV requirement will also strengthen ties to existing Taiwanese communities in Canada and cultural relations with Taiwan, while removing a leading bilateral irritant for Taiwan.

Business and consumer impacts: The Regulations will benefit Canada by facilitating Canada-Taiwan business exchanges and improving commercial relations, and may result in a modest increase in tourism to Canada from Taiwan passport holders. Exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement is not expected to negatively impact Canadian consumers, competition, trade or the economy.

Domestic and international coordination and cooperation: CIC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will work closely together, as well as with other government departments and interested stakeholders, both within Canada and overseas, to see that the Regulations are implemented effectively via existing structures and processes. The Government of Canada has also secured the commitment of authorities in Taiwan to enhance Canada-Taiwan cooperation and to enact any necessary risk mitigation measures in support of lifting the visa requirement for ordinary Taiwan passport holders.

Issue

Subsection 11(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requires that a foreign national apply for and obtain a visa before entering Canada, except in such cases as are prescribed by the Regulations. Taiwan passport holders were required to apply for and obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) before travelling to Canada.

Canada’s visa policy is determined on the basis of an evidence-based assessment of the established visa review criteria and thresholds. CIC conducted a comprehensive assessment of conditions in Taiwan that included input from and consultations with other federal departments (Public Safety, the CBSA, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP], the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service [CSIS], the Communications Security Establishment [CSE], the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada [DFAIT], Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada [AAFC], the Department of Justice Canada [DOJ], Industry Canada, and Transport Canada), open source materials, and information from Taiwan authorities.

The review showed that TRV refusal rates and the number of immigration violations, removals, and asylum claims by Taiwan passport holders are low. Due to these positive trends and in an effort to improve ties with Taiwan and facilitate travel for ordinary Taiwan passport holders, CIC has exempted holders of an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number of the individual from the TRV requirement for travel to Canada.

Objectives

The TRV exemption will facilitate Canada-Taiwan business exchanges, improve commercial relations, and increase tourism from Taiwan, while strengthening cultural relations and ties to existing Taiwanese communities in Canada. The amendment will facilitate the travel of ordinary Taiwan passport holders to Canada and further strengthen Canada-Taiwan relations while continuing to protect the health, safety, and security of Canadians and the integrity of the immigration and asylum system.

Description

The regulatory amendment exempts holders of an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number of the individual from the TRV requirement for travel to Canada under section 190(2) of the Regulations. Holders of Taiwan passports that do not contain a personal identification number (“compatriot passports”) continue to be visa-required for travel to Canada.

Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

The IRPA requires that TRV exemptions be prescribed in regulation. Currently, there are no alternatives to amending the Regulations in order to exempt holders of a specific travel document from the TRV requirement.

Benefits and costs

Between 2008 and 2010, a total of 75 888 TRV applications from Taiwan passport holders were received, averaging 37 944 applications per year. The foregone revenue associated with this visa exemption is estimated to be up to $1,256,133 for 2010–2011 and $3,768,375 ongoing, based on the current fees for single and multiple entry visas ($75/$150).

There are no implementation costs associated with this new measure. Furthermore, any cost savings for the Government of Canada from this initiative will be minimal given that infrastructure costs abroad cannot easily be recuperated and no immediate changes to the overseas network are proposed at this time. Any residual savings will be reallocated to pressure points elsewhere in the overseas network, to areas where temporary resident work has shifted and seen significant increases in the last several years.

It is anticipated that exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement will benefit Canada by facilitating Canada-Taiwan business exchanges, improving commercial relations, and increasing tourism. Despite a downward trend in the number of TRV applications received from Taiwan residents in the past five years, the experience of other countries that have recently lifted their visa requirements for Taiwan suggests the number of Taiwan tourists to Canada may increase following a visa exemption. For example, the United Kingdom (U.K.) announced its decision to lift the visa requirement for ordinary Taiwan passport holders in March 2009. Between March and October 2009, the number of Taiwan travellers to the U.K. increased from 27 070 to 36 924 — an increase of 36.4% over the same period the previous year. Based on previous expenditures by Taiwan tourists in Canada ($92 million in 2007), the potential increase in tourism may also augment tourism revenues from Taiwan by as much as $33 million annually.

Exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement will also strengthen cultural relations and ties to existing Taiwanese communities in Canada, while removing a leading bilateral irritant for Taiwan.

Exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement is not expected to negatively impact Canadian consumers, competition, trade or the economy.

Cost-Benefit Statement

Base Year: … Final Year:

Total (PV)

Average Annual (ongoing)

A. Quantified Impacts $

Benefits

 

2011–2012

 

Up to $125 million

Foregone Revenue

Government of Canada

2011–2012

 

Up to $3.8 million

B. Quantified Impacts in Non-$ — e.g. Risk Assessment

May facilitate business exchanges and trade relations over time.

May result in a modest increase in tourism over time.

C. Qualitative Impacts

Positive Impacts

Canadian business community and society

  • Facilitate business exchanges and commercial relations.
  • Increase tourism and tourism revenues.
 

Taiwanese community in Canada

  • Strengthened ties with Taiwan.
 

Government of Canada

  • Improved Canada-Taiwan relations by removing a leading bilateral irritant for Taiwan.
  • Improved Canada-Taiwan commercial and cultural relations.

Negative Impacts

CIC, the CBSA, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Health Canada

  • Foregone revenue of up to $3.8 million and minimal savings that will be reallocated.
  • May increase risk of abuse by compatriot passport holders and risk of fraud related to the passport application and issuance processes.

CIC will continue to actively work with its partners in other departments and agencies to ensure the integrity of the immigration and refugee system and mitigate any health, safety, or security risks that may arise as a result of exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement.

Rationale

The amendment will facilitate the travel of legitimate visitors to Canada while continuing to protect the health, safety, and security of Canadians and the integrity of the immigration and asylum system.

Taiwan passport holders currently surpass the three quantitative thresholds for visa exemption (TRV refusal rates, immigration violation rates, and number of asylum claims). During the technical visit, the delegation observed that Taiwan passport production, personalization, and issuance procedures were secure. The delegation also observed that Taiwan generally maintains a rigorous system of entry and exit controls, and border management personnel were scrupulous in verifying travel documents.

Exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement will have a positive impact on Canada by facilitating Canada-Taiwan business exchanges, improving commercial relations, and increasing tourism from Taiwan. Exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement will also strengthen cultural relations and ties to existing Taiwanese communities in Canada, while removing a leading bilateral irritant for Taiwan.

CIC will continue to work closely with other departments and agencies, including Public Safety, the CBSA, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to employ the full range of existing measures to mitigate any health, safety, or security concerns that may arise as a result of exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement.

Consultation

Consultations were conducted and input was sought from other federal government departments and agencies, including Public Safety, the CBSA, the RCMP, CSIS, CSE, DFAIT, AAFC, DOJ, Industry Canada, Transport Canada and Finance Canada. These departments and agencies provided information and analysis to inform the review of the visa requirement for Taiwan.

Canadian federal security and international partners raised concerns about the possibility of abuse by overseas Taiwan nationals holding passports without personal identification numbers (compatriot passports). For that reason, CIC has decided not to exempt those passport holders from the visa requirement.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada consulted with officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security. United States officials at the working level did not express any concern with regard to Canada lifting the visa requirement on ordinary Taiwan passport holders.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

Canada will work with Taiwan authorities to further enhance cooperation on migration integrity and travel document issues.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will work closely with other departments and agencies to mitigate any health, safety, or security concerns that may arise as a result of exempting ordinary Taiwan passport holders from the TRV requirement. Persons residing in Taiwan are medically designated for travel to Canada, meaning that they must successfully undergo medical exams for stays in Canada over six months. The introduction of a visa exemption does not remove the requirement for Taiwan passport holders to undergo a medical examination for stays in Canada of six months or more.

The risk of abuse by compatriot passport holders and fraud related to the passport application and issuance processes are manageable and will be mitigated through ongoing monitoring by the CBSA and cooperation with Taiwan.

As this measure removes the TRV requirement, no compliance measures are required.

Performance measurement and evaluation

The impact of this new measure will be monitored and evaluated with existing databases and according to existing practices. Should this exemption create unforeseen results, a re-imposition of the TRV requirement would be considered.

Contact

Alain Desruisseaux
Director General
Admissibility Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
Telephone: 613-954-6132
Email: Alain.Desruisseaux@cic.gc.ca

Footnote a
S.C. 2001, c. 27

Footnote 1
SOR/2002-227