Visa for Mexican Citizens Protecting the integrity of the

Visa for Mexican Citizens | Protecting the integrity of the immigration system, says Marc Miller

(Ottawa) The Trudeau government's decision to reinstate visa requirements for Mexican nationals is a necessary measure to protect the integrity of the immigration system. This measure, which will take effect at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, could be reviewed if there is a significant decrease in asylum applications from Mexican travelers considered abusive, Immigration Minister Marc Miller indicated.

Published at 9:13 am. Updated at 10:08 a.m


Mr. Miller confirmed on Thursday the return of this measure, which was deemed unacceptable by the Mexican authorities after several weeks of consultations and deliberations.

The minister justified Ottawa's decision at a press conference, emphasizing that Mexicans made up 17% of all asylum seekers in 2023 and that most of their applications were rejected or even withdrawn by applicants.

In 2023, around 25,000 Mexicans applied for asylum after setting foot on Canadian soil. This is more than three times more than in 2022 (7,483) and four times more than in 2019 (5,634). The increase is so large that Mexico now ranks second among countries receiving asylum seekers, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

The trend is simply unsustainable, argued the minister, who acknowledged that this decision was poorly received by Mexico.

The Harper government introduced visas for Mexican nationals, but Justin Trudeau's Liberals abolished it shortly after coming to power in 2015.

“We are not targeting any country. We constantly monitor our visa policies for visa-free countries, visa-required countries, and migration trends. We want to preserve the integrity and sustainability of our immigration and refugee system. This is our priority,” he said.

To limit the impact of this new measure, the Trudeau government has provided certain exemptions, particularly for students and agricultural workers who come in large numbers from Mexico and are essential to several companies.

“Mexicans who want to work in Canada will continue to have access to many of the existing employment opportunities, including the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program,” he said.

In addition, Mexican citizens wishing to enter Canada can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization if they have held a Canadian visa within the last decade or have a valid US visa. According to Miller, these conditions ensure that the majority of Mexican citizens can enter with an electronic travel authorization.

Canada also plans to increase the number of visa application centers in Mexico. For better understanding, the minister also spoke a few sentences in Spanish during the press conference.

Angry Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to boycott the next Three Amigos summit, scheduled to take place in Quebec in April, Radio-Canada reported Wednesday evening.

“Mexico is a sovereign country that has the right to take any action it pleases. However, I have had no indication of this, other than of course the fact that I confirm that they are dissatisfied. When I spoke to the Secretary of State, I had no indication that there would be any trade measures that would come into force,” said Minister Miller.

“Obviously these are relationships that have improved over the last decade. It is in our collective interest not to harm them. But it is clear that they are dissatisfied. They will have to make a number of decisions in the coming days and weeks,” he added.

For several months, the Trudeau government has been under intense pressure from Quebec, the Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party to once again require visas for Mexican nationals. The USA also demanded that the visas be returned, especially since a significant number of Mexican nationals who had applied for asylum later traveled to the USA.

Quebec Prime Minister François Legault also sent a letter on the subject to his federal colleague Justin Trudeau earlier this year. In his letter, Mr. Legault argued that the number of asylum seekers arriving in Quebec was “excessive” and that the situation had become “untenable,” leaving the province close to reaching its “default point.”

He called for a “fair” distribution of asylum seekers across Canada and said he expected Ottawa to refund the 470 million allocated to receive asylum seekers in 2021 and 2022 and that he would “do the same about the for years.”

In Quebec, Immigration, Francisization and Integration Minister Christine Fréchette welcomed Ottawa's decision to reinstate the visa.

“In 2023, Quebec received almost half of the asylum seekers arriving in Canada. Of these, 25% were Mexican nationals. This announcement from the federal government is evidence of Quebec's ability to make its voice heard in Ottawa. “This is an important step that has just been taken, but it will not solve everything,” the minister wrote on the X network.