Canadian Visa Requirements for Mexicans to be Reinstated as Asylum Claims Increase

Canadian Visa Requirements for Mexicans to be Reinstated as Asylum Claims Increase

Following a spike in asylum requests from Mexican nationals, Canada has reinstated its visa requirements, which were previously waived over eight years ago.

More than half of asylum requests submitted to Canada are either denied or abandoned, according to Immigration Minister Marc Miller’s statements.

In an effort to strengthen ties with Mexico, Ottawa lifted the restrictions in 2016. Ever since, the government of Quebec has been under pressure from an influx of immigrants that has driven it to a “breaking point”.

According to federal data, there has been about a 9000% increase in the number of Mexican nationals applying for asylum in Canada, a jump from 260 to 23,995 between 2016 and 2023. At a press conference, Mr. Miller indicated that 17% of all asylum claims in Ottawa in 2023 will come from Mexico, a record number.

The new visa regulations were not warmly received by the Mexican government, he stated, but “Mexico is and will remain an important partner.” Mexican citizens with work or study permits will be exempt from visa requirements.

The province of Quebec has been exerting pressure on the federal government due to the increase in refugee petitions. The province’s premier declared in January that an increase in asylum seekers was placing a burden on public services including housing and education.

To assist the province in paying for the inflow, Premier Francois Legault requested $1 billion from Ottawa ($736 million; £582 million). Mr. Legault mentions there were around 60,000 new asylum seekers registered in Quebec in the first eleven months of 2023, and another 65,000 are anticipated this year. Quebec has reported that almost 25% of those are from Mexico.

According to Christine Fréchette, the provincial minister of immigration, “an important step has been taken, but it won’t solve everything. Our services are overwhelmed, and the number of asylum seekers welcomed by Quebec is far too high.”

A year ago, US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a border accord that closed a loophole that allowed asylum seekers to enter the nation through unofficial crossing points and file asylum claims. Mr. Miller has mentioned that most asylum applicants are increasingly arriving by plane.

The new regulations go into effect in the beginning of March 2024 and will allow Mexican nationals who possess a valid US non-immigrant visa or who have held a Canadian visa within the last ten years to apply for an electronic travel authorization, which is a prerequisite for admission for those who are exempt from requiring a visa. Every other citizen of Mexico must apply for a visa.

How Can We Help

The Immigration Law Firm of Matthew Jeffery specializes in helping bring families to Canada with over 20 years of experience. Fill out our contact form to see if we can help you with your immigration matters.