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Canada to reintroduces Visa Requirements for Mexican Citizens

More than 28,000 backlogged claims from Mexicans are currently on file.

by Immigration Team
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Canadian federal government to reimpose visa requirements for Mexican nationals

In a significant policy shift, the Canadian federal government is set to reintroduce visa requirements for Mexican nationals planning to visit Canada, according to senior government sources cited by Radio-Canada and CBC News. This change is slated to go into effect at 11:30 p.m. ET this Thursday, marking a pivotal move to address the growing concerns over asylum claims.

  • Reintroduction of Visa Requirements:
    • Canadian federal government to reimpose visa requirements for Mexican nationals.
    • New policy effective from 11:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.
  • Quebec’s Call for Action:
    • Quebec Premier François Legault urged the federal government to slow asylum seeker influx.
    • Highlighted visa-free entry for Mexicans as a part of the issue.
  • Asylum Claim Statistics:
    • Over 25,000 Mexicans applied for asylum in Canada last year, making Mexico the top source country.
    • More than 28,000 backlogged claims from Mexicans are currently on file.
  • Concerns from the United States:
    • The U.S. requested Canada to reinstate visa requirements to reduce illegal border crossings.
    • Mexicans use Canada’s visa exemption as a route to illegally enter the U.S.
  • Impact of Visa Requirement:
    • Expected to affect approximately 40% of Mexican travelers to Canada.
  • Historical Context:
    • Visa requirement initially imposed in 2009 by the Harper government, relaxed by Trudeau in 2016.

The reinstatement of visa requirements comes amid vocal appeals from Quebec Premier François Legault, who has urged the federal government to implement measures to decelerate the surge of asylum seekers into Quebec. Premier Legault highlighted the visa-free entry for Mexican travelers as a contributing factor to the increased asylum claims in Canada. “The possibility of entering Canada from Mexico without a visa certainly explains part of the influx of asylum seekers,” Legault stated, addressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Last year, over 25,000 Mexican nationals sought asylum in Canada, positioning Mexico as the leading country of origin for such claims, data from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada reveals. Currently, the backlog of claims from Mexican applicants exceeds 28,000, underscoring the system’s pressure.

The United States has also voiced concerns, prompting Canada to reconsider its visa policy to mitigate illegal crossings from Canada into the U.S. Mexican nationals, while exempt from Canadian visa requirements, must obtain visas to enter the U.S., leading some to use Canada as a transit point for illegal entry into the United States.

Government sources estimate that the new visa mandate will impact around 40% of Mexican travelers to Canada. This policy reversal retraces steps taken in 2009 by the Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who initially introduced the visa requirement to control asylum claim inflows, a measure later relaxed by the Trudeau government in 2016.

Amid these developments, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized Canada’s move towards unilateral immigration measures, emphasizing ongoing negotiations aimed at managing migratory flows. López Obrador, expressing disappointment over potential unilateral actions by Canada, hinted at possibly skipping the next North American Leaders summit hosted in Canada should he perceive any unfair treatment towards Mexico.

In a bid to alleviate tensions with Mexico over the visa policy, Ottawa is reportedly considering expanding the employment sectors available to Mexican nationals in Canada, with negotiations still in progress. This diplomatic effort reflects the complex interplay of immigration policy, international relations, and labor market dynamics shaping Canada’s approach to managing its borders and bilateral ties with Mexico.

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