I am writing to inform you of an initiative called the Visa Barrier project, led by Professor Meredith Terretta, a member of our Centre and former Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights. The project was created because it is becoming more and more evident that a high rate of IRCC refusal of temporary residence and study permits to visa-required researchers threatens to undermine Canada’s research achievements on the world stage. That African researchers seem to be disproportionately affected by this visa barrier is even more troubling. The mobility of researchers is an important facet of knowledge mobilization, and the exclusion of African researchers from international forums like the International AIDS Society conference in Montreal exacerbates North-South asymmetries in global knowledge flows.
The Visa Barrier project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, studies how African researchers experience visa application processes by collecting anonymized data from visa-required African researchers and scholars invited to Canada. Over time, this data will reveal an approximate profile of those researchers to whom Canada denies right of entry, thus highlighting patterns related to income, gender, marital status, country of origin, race, Visa Application Centre, and so on. It will also highlight discrepancies in the items of “proof” that IRCC requires of applicants from country to country as well as the varying length of time it takes to process applications. These data will be used to inform the Canadian government and Canadian universities of challenges that visa-required African researchers face, providing an evidence-based argument for developing equitable immigration policies and university internationalization strategies to surmount the visa barrier.
As you can see, the success of the Visa Barrier project depends on widespread involvement of stakeholders who regularly invite visa-required scholars and researchers to Canada. For this reason, we thought that this would be of interest to the SAR Canada community. Interested people can become stakeholders by following this link to enroll in the project. It takes about a minute for stakeholders to register to use the web application, after which they can regularly invite visa-required researchers by providing them with a unique, secure link to a one-time access survey of their visa application experience. The anonymized data* are sorted by category, allowing the research team to produce aggregate tables over time.
For questions about the project, you can also reach Meredith Terretta, Principal Investigator visabarrier.ca
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and help in sharing this with others.
Very best wishes,
Viviana A. Fernandez
Directrice adjointe / Assistant Director
Centre de recherche et d’enseignement sur les droits de la personne /
Human Rights Research and Education Centre
Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
Le CREDP a célébré ces 40 ans (1981 – 2021) / HRREC celebrated its 40 years (1981 – 2021)