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Canada will remove visa requirements for citizens of Mexico as of December 1, 2016. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement following bilateral talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Ottawa on Tuesday.
The two major consequences of this agreement for Mexicans will be that it will be easier and cheaper to visit Canada temporarily, and it will be more straightforward to apply for Canadian work permits.
Canada and Mexico previously had a visa-free arrangement, but this was ended by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009, principally due to the relatively high number of refugee applications being made by Mexican citizens in Canada. Since then, the visa issue has been a longstanding irritant in Canada’s relationship with Mexico, with Peña Nieto’s government pushing hard for a resolution. Since Canada’s new government took office late last year, it has said that it was open to removing the visa requirement as long as its concerns were allayed by the Mexican government.
“Canada is pleased to deliver on the government’s commitment to lift the visa requirement for Mexican nationals. We look forward to the social and economic benefits that lifting the visa requirement will bring to both countries, especially to the middle class here in Canada,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.
The government of Canada believes that lifting the visa requirement will deepen the ties between Canada and Mexico and will increase the flow of travellers, ideas, and business between both countries.
As of December 1, Mexican citizens will no longer require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in order to visit Canada temporarily. Instead, they will have to apply for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if travelling to Canada by air, or simply have their travel documentation (i.e. passport) checked at a Canadian Port of Entry if travelling by land or sea. The process of applying for and obtaining an eTA is cheaper and typically far quicker than obtaining a TRV.
To learn more about the eTA process, click here.
Working in Canada
Whereas previously Mexican citizens intending to work in Canada had to apply for a work permit at a Canadian Visa Office, they may now apply for one at a Canadian Port of Entry. Mexican citizens with the authorization to work in Canada typically arrive in Canada under one of the following initiatives: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Intra-Company Transfer Program, or as a foreign worker with a temporary work permit supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
A positive realignment
“This week’s news no doubt comes after months of diplomatic negotiation, and in the end I think it will be worth it. Mexican citizens have proven themselves over many years to be exemplary visitors and workers,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“It is refreshing to see that the government of Canada is prepared to make these sorts of agreements with other countries, particularly a large North American partner like Mexico.”
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