The Canadian federal government took off visa restrictions on Romanians in December 2017, and since then 232 people have entered Canada seeking asylum. In 2016, only 120 Romanian citizens had entered Canada as asylum seekers. Immigration critics fear that the number will go on increasing and since the government isn’t equipped to handle it, everything will become messy.
During the same time, visa restrictions for Bulgaria were lifted as well, but the people claiming refugee status have been very low. The reason why Canada granted visa-free entry to Bulgaria and Romania was for signing a free trade agreement with the European Union. Some European Union nations didn’t want to deal with Canadian business because they required a visa to enter, which threatened the free trade deal. Paul MacKinnon feels that it is difficult to say by looking at the current numbers that the number of Romanian refugees will increase over the years.
A big wave of Romanians migrating to Canada was in 1998 when the Communist party fell in the country. Until now, the highest number of Romanians welcomed by Canada was in 2004, and the number was around 5,600. There wasn’t any cause for them to move but better employment opportunities. Ever since the number has been decreasing, because now the country is stabilized and employment opportunities increased. MacKinnon continued that if the trend kept increasing, visa restrictions will be reimposed by the Canadian government.
Increase in tourism
Christian Tour, a famous tour operator in Romania, confirmed a 30 percent rise in Romanians visiting Canada for business or leisure after the visa restrictions were lifted. The tour operator is now focusing on US trips and launched three US packages starting from 10,000 euros for a family of four for a two to three-week tour. They hope that the US will make Romania a part of their visa waiver program as well.