In May 2019, something unexpected happened: A business lady friend of mine, had been denied a Canadian visa. This friend is worth billions of Ugandan Shillings, a dollar millionaire. She has a rich travel history, has traveled to the USA countless times and has a daughter, who is a US Citizen on top of multiple visits to Europe, let alone educating a child from one of the top Universities in Europe. In short, she had everything in order, which qualified her for being granted the visa she had applied for.
If such a lady can be denied a visa to Canada, how about an ordinary Ugandan? I thought to myself. Fast forward to July and news of one the most prominent schools in Uganda experiencing close to similar fate, in their quest for Canadian visas, got me so much intrigued about the Canadian visas. For years, there has been general talk about Canada being very generous with their visas. As usual, I had to do some digging, about the visa rejection statistics.
Last year, an article in The Globe and Mail confirmed a worrying trend: Canadian visitor visa refusal rates are soaring. Canada refused more than a quarter of all temporary resident visa applications in 2017 and 30 per cent in the first three months of 2018.
The report, published on July 8, 2018 was based on data obtained by the Globe and Mail from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that showed both the number of Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications for purposes including tourism, school, business, conferences and family visits, and the number of refusals - increasing significantly since 2012.
Between 2012 and 2017, the number of TRV applications processed each year by IRCC increased from 1.3 million to 2.3 million, the Globe and Mail says. During this same period, the number of refusals soared to more than 600,000 in 2017.
Of this last number, 494,133 were non-student TRV applications, which were refused at a rate of 26 per cent in 2017. In 2012, the refusal rate for non-student TRVs was 18 per cent, the Globe and Mail says.
Data for the first three months of 2018 saw the refusal rate surpass 2017, rising to 30 per cent for non-student visas.
The refusal rate for student visa applications was even higher - climbing from 26% in 2012 to 33% in 2017.
This data reveals that it is becoming more difficult to get a Canadian visa approved - “and the odds against applicants are rising.”
Refusal rates were highest for applicants from Africa and Middle East, with 75% of applications from Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan being rejected in the last two years.
From the above information, the Uganda visa rejection rate is alarmingly in between 50%-75% - which means that most visa applications are rejected. Our other peers in the region aren't much better, as Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda have a visa rejection rate in the region of 25%-50%.
The Government of Canada says the following basic requirements must be met in order to be permitted to travel to Canada:
have a valid travel document, like a passport;
be in good health;
have no criminal or immigration-related convictions;
convince an immigration officer that you have ties - such as a job, home, financial assets or family - that will take you back to your home country;
convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit;
have enough money for your stay.
Whether visa applications meet these basic requirements or not, is at the discretion of the Canadian immigration officer who is treating the request.