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Canada Enforces Visa Restrictions On Mexico

Canada Enforces Visa Restrictions On Mexico

In Toronto, the Canadian government has implemented visa restrictions on Mexicans entering the country, a decision driven by various factors, including requests from the United States. The primary objective is to address the surge in asylum claims and concerns about illegal border crossings into the U.S. Last year alone, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board received 17,490 claims from Mexico, constituting 19% of all claims referred that year.

The new restriction, effective from 11:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, responds to pressure from Quebec Premier François Legault and the U.S. administration. Statistics indicate that over 25,000 asylum applications were submitted from Mexico last year, making it the leading source of such claims in Canada. This surge is attributed, in part, to the absence of visa requirements for Mexican travelers, facilitating their entry into Canada. The previous relaxation of visa restrictions in 2016, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, is now being reversed due to concerns about resource strain and the integrity of immigration systems.

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Quebec Premier Legault’s appeals to Prime Minister Trudeau for reinstating the visa requirement gained traction amid tensions over immigration policies. Additionally, U.S. authorities expressed concerns about some Mexican nationals exploiting Canada’s visa-free regime to enter the U.S. illegally.

The new regulations are expected to impact around 40% of Mexican travelers to Canada, with exemptions for those holding specific U.S. visas or possessing Canadian study or work permits. Individuals with valid Canadian visas issued within the past decade are not required to reapply under the revised regulations.

However, the reintroduction of visa requirements has been met with criticism from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who accused Canada of unilateral action and suggested a lack of respect in bilateral relations. López Obrador hinted at potential repercussions, including non-participation in the upcoming North American Leaders Summit in Quebec unless respectful treatment is ensured.

Canadian Immigration Minister is expected to provide further details on the new visa regulations, emphasizing their role in managing immigration flows and ensuring the integrity of Canada’s asylum system.