Canada cancels visa exemption for Mexico due to too many refugee applications

Canada cancels visa exemption for Mexicans

Canada cancels visa exemption for Mexico due to too many refugee applications

Canadian Immigration Minister Mark Miller announced on Thursday that Canada will reinstate visa requirements for Mexican citizens, effective immediately.

Visa exemption for  Mexicans

Previously, Mexican citizens could simply board a flight to Canada directly through eTA. But as of Thursday, this policy will be abolished. Mexican citizens traveling to Canada must now apply for a visitor visa unless they hold a U.S. non-immigrant visa or have held a Canadian visa within the past ten years.

On December 1, 2016, Canada announced a visa-free policy for Mexico. Since then, the number of refugee and asylum applications filed by Mexican citizens in Canada has increased sharply. In 2023, Canada received 24,000 refugee applications from Mexican citizens, accounting for 17% of the total, most of which were rejected.

Mexican Visa exemption

Quebec Premier François Legault recently sent a letter to Trudeau asking the federal government to consider re-implementing a visa system for Mexican citizens. He said the province is approaching the limit of its capacity due to the influx of so many refugee applicants. Legault said Quebec welcomes French-speaking applicants.

Quebec hosts 50% of all refugees in Canada, a quarter of whom are Mexican citizens.

Another complaint against Mexico’s visa-free policy is the United States, which requires Mexican citizens to have a visa to enter. However, some Mexican citizens first entered Canada through the visa-free policy and then tried to enter the United States illegally, resulting in a significant increase in the number of people illegally entering the United States from Canada.


However, the Canadian Tourism Association stated that Mexican tourists spent more than 750 million Canadian dollars in Canada last year, and the re-implementation of visa policies may have an adverse impact on the Canadian tourism industry.

Miller noted in a media statement that Mexican citizens who want to work or study in Canada will not be affected by the changes, nor will the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP). Therefore, Mexican citizens will continue to compete in Canada’s job market, just like legal immigrants from other countries.

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