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To address the influx of asylum seekers from Mexico, the Canadian government has swiftly reintroduced visa requirements for Mexican travellers. According to the immigration ministry, Mexican nationals without a valid U.S. or Canadian visa in the past decade must apply for a visitor visa before entering Canada. Individuals with a valid U.S. visa or recent Canadian visa must obtain an electronic travel authorization for air travel.

Recently, Quebec’s premier—Canada’s second most populous province—urged Ottawa to halt the refugee flow and compensate the state for related expenses. In 2023, Mexican citizens submitted a record number of asylum claims, accounting for 17% of global requests. This new visa policy will impact approximately 40% of Mexican travellers seeking entry into Canada.

Meanwhile, Mexico faces challenges such as declining real wages (nearly 50%) and widespread malnourishment affecting over half of its population. A concentration of private investment within a few hundred families exacerbates economic disparities. In rural areas, landless peasants struggle due to insufficient land for production. Consequently, immigration to Canada has surged, driven by asylum seekers forced to leave their homes and land.

Important Points To Be Noted

  1. Work and Study Permits Unaffected: The application process for work permits and study permits remains unchanged. Labour pathways for Mexican citizens seeking employment in Canada are unaffected.
  2. eTA Changes: All electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) linked to Mexican passports with current work or study permits in Canada will remain valid. However, eTAs granted before 11:30 p.m. Eastern time on February 29, 2024, will be invalidated. Mexican nationals without valid employment or study permits must reapply for an eTA or apply for a visitor visa.
  3. eTA Duration: Mexican citizens currently in Canada on an eTA can stay authorized for up to 6 months from their arrival date. However, if they plan to return to Canada, they must follow proper visa procedures or obtain a new eTA.
  4. New Visa Process: Obtaining a new visa will be challenging, taking approximately four to six weeks. Applicants will need to provide biometrics. The visa will be valid for 10 years, allowing multiple entries to Canada with a maximum stay of six months.
  5. Exemption for Valid U.S. Visa Holders: Travelers with valid American visas within the last 10 years are exempt from this new visa policy.
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The Canadian government has assured that the recent policy change will not affect ongoing travel, tourism, and trade with Mexico. The federal government, along with its provincial and territorial counterparts, will continue to streamline the immigration system and support Mexico’s citizens who are in dire need of protection. The recent announcement will ease pressure on Canada’s borders, immigration system, housing crunch, and social services.

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