1709218283 Canada will again ask Mexicans for visas due to the

Canada will again ask Mexicans for visas due to the increase in asylum applications

Canada will again ask Mexicans for visas due to the

Canada will again require visas from Mexican citizens. This was confirmed by the government of this country in a statement on Thursday. The information had been released a day earlier by Canadian Public Television (CBC), which quoted senior officials justifying the move given the increase in asylum applications in recent months. Justin Trudeau's government is considering a partial arrangement that would exempt Mexican visitors who already have visas to the United States, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to EL PAÍS.

“As of February 29, 2024, 11:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), Mexican citizens who hold a valid U.S. nonimmigrant visa or have had a Canadian visa in the last 10 years and are traveling by air with a Mexican passport may do so apply for an electronic travel authorization,” the Canadian government says in a letter justifying the measure, arguing to support travel and connections between both countries and to protect the integrity of its immigration system.

The application process for Mexican citizens applying for a work or study permit will not change. Those looking to work in Canada will continue to have access to a variety of existing employment opportunities, including the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program. Anyone who already has a visa for the USA only needs to process the electronic travel authorization (ETA), the entry permit for short visits and tourism or business trips. The ETA is a requirement for entry into this country, costs seven Canadian dollars (120 Mexican pesos) and is valid for five years once issued. Government sources said four in 10 Mexican travelers would be affected by the new requirement.

The introduction of the visa is a response to internal pressure due to the arrival of asylum seekers arriving at Canadian airports as tourists: “This is a response to the increase in asylum applications from Mexican citizens that are being rejected, withdrawn or abandoned.” “It is an important step to preserve the mobility of hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens while ensuring the sound management of our immigration and asylum systems,” they reported this Thursday. In January, Quebec Premier François Legault sent a letter to Trudeau urging him to take action to address the surge in applications. “The ability to enter Canada from Mexico without a visa certainly explains part of the influx of asylum seekers,” Legault said.

According to official figures, more than 25,000 Mexicans applied for asylum last year. Fewer than 3,000 petitions have been approved, about 2,500 have been rejected and another 28,000 are still pending and have not yet been accepted into Canada's foster care system. There were fewer than 7,500 applications from Mexicans in 2022, about a quarter of those filed a year later.

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, threatened this Wednesday to stay away from the summit of North American leaders next April, amid new diplomatic tensions with the governments of the United States and Canada. “If there is no respectful interaction, I will not participate,” the president concluded in his daily press conference. The diplomatic meeting with Justin Trudeau and Joe Biden is expected to take place precisely in Quebec.

“We have been generous with Prime Minister Trudeau's government, but they were already on the verge of taking unilateral measures,” López Obrador said, referring to the immigration conflicts with Canada. The Mexican president said last week that Trudeau had been putting the immigration issue on the table since the end of last year and that both governments were looking for a negotiated solution. “There have been several meetings and we are already taking action and seeking an agreement with Canada,” the president said. “The number of asylum applications is increasing and we need to see if these are really people applying for this or if it is a way to enter Canada,” he added. However, the new visa requirement comes with a certain surprise and after almost eight years without the adoption of a similar measure.

It remains to be seen whether Mexico, Canada's third trading partner, will take countermeasures. In 2016, the Trudeau government relaxed the requirements of its predecessor, Conservative Stephen Harper, who reinstated visas for Mexican visitors in 2009. The argument then was the same as it is today: the increase in asylum applications and the use of public visa resources to manage requests.

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