(403) 452-9515

Ackah Law

Search Ackah Law...

Contact us

Contact Information

1 (403) 452-9515

1 (800) 932-1190

Book a Consultation

More Options...

Scientists Face Visa Roadblocks Traveling to Canada for AI Conference

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in How To Move To Canada, Tech Immigration and International Travel

Scientists Face Visa Roadblocks Traveling to Canada for AI Conference

Canada's goal to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve immigration efficiency and be viewed as a desirable technology hub for foreign workers hit a very public roadblock this week when several international experts on AI who planned to attend a conference in Canada were denied visas due to a backlog.

Prominent international scientists and AI researchers who wanted to attend the NeurIPS conference in Montreal on December 2, 2018, did not have the visas processed on time or were denied visas. As reported by The Star, most of those whose temporary visas had been denied or not yet process were African researchers and Easter Europeans, living in multiple countries.

The visa issues were widely reported on social media by both researchers who were unable to obtain visas, and by Canadian AI experts and conference organizers who were frustrated that as many as 55% of the 230 academics scheduled to attend had their visa either denied or not processed in time. Twitter had many posts on Canada's visa issues, with one computer scientist appealing directly to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Canadian government was able to expedite and approve some of the visas, but not in time for all of the researchers to make new travel plans to Montreal in time for the conference.

Organizers reported that research organizations Black in AI and SOCML have l0st participants due to visa issues, and Canada may lose future conferences.

Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah has been a vocal advocate for the Canadian government to streamline the visa bureaucratic maze while maintaining immigration standards, and says we need to closely monitor the government's AI immigration pilot program:

Canada enjoys the benefits of a world-class tech community, many of them foreign workers and highly skilled and educated technology ex[erts who moved to Canada. I have seen life-altering application mistakes happen time and again, and it's time to change the bureaucratic maze. Plus, new research says the use of AI - artificial intelligence - may in fact discriminate against immigrants.

The Montreal Gazette reports that conference organizers fear that the visa issues experienced by these prominent researchers and scientists may push AI conferences to avoid Canada.


Evelyn Ackah

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

More About Evelyn Ackah

Brexit: Do You Want to Move to Canada From the UK?

The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016, and today the battle in government continues to cause stress, fear and confusion for citizens of the UK. With the defeat ...

Read More

Episode 2: Canada Tech Visas: Are You An IT Worker Who Wants To Move To Canada?

Show Notes: Canada wants to become a tech hub but is facing an aging workforce. Canada has put economic immigration initiatives and programs in place to make Canada attractive to ...

Read More

How An Immigration Lawyer Can Smooth The Way to Your Tech Career in Canada

Canada has an aging workforce and is recruiting educated, skilled and experienced immigrants to fill jobs and help grow Canada's economy. Canada wants to become a tech hub, and ...

Read More

Do You Want a Tech Visa to Canada?

Canada is a very attractive option for high-tech and IT immigrants. Many highly skilled and educated people see Canada as a desirable immigration destination. Canada is actively ...

Read More

Meet New Calgarians Brian, Michael and Phoenix

Case Study: Americans Move to Canada Summary When Brian Owens was contacted about a career move to Calgary, he did a fast double-take about moving from Nashville, Tennessee to Alberta, ...

Read More

7 Top Ways to Move to Canada in 2019

Canada immigration law is becoming more complex and challenging every day. Immigration applications can be refused due to minor oversights and omissions that can delay or negatively ...

Read More

Commitment - This is one word sums up Evelyn Ackah and her team. The last few years Canadian immigration policies have been a moving target. Throughout this period Ackah Law focused to provide reliable and exceptional service

– Peter Bellusci

View All Testimonials