In 2009, in the face of surging numbers of refugee claimants, Canada instituted a visa requirement for Mexican citizens to travel to Canada. Whatever impact this move may have had on stemming the tide of refugee claimants, it was both
- harmful to business, and
- a sticking point in Mexico-Canada relations.
How is this position set to change?
The Government of Canada is now set to terminate the visa requirement.
Effective 1 December 2016, Mexicans will no longer need a visa to seek temporary entry to Canada. This includes entry for the purpose of work, study, business visitation, or ‘ordinary’ visitation. In essence, from this perspective, Mexicans will be in the same position as any other non-visa national.
What are the impacts on Mexican citizens travelling to Canada?
There are two principle impacts of this measure:
- After the removal of the visa requirement, Mexicans will require an Electronic Travel Authorization like virtually all other non-visa nationals (see details further below).
- Mexicans’ substantive rights under NAFTA remain unchanged. Mexicans are entitled to the full benefits of NAFTA including work permits under professional categories, and will now be able to seek these upon arrival at a port of entry (as they used to).
Canada is tearing down walls in its relationship with Mexico. This can only serve to improve issues vis-a-vis business immigration and mobility between the countries.
Anyone dealing with companies doing business in Canada, or generally, global corporate immigration, will want to be aware that this significant NAFTA party - Mexico – is having a visa requirement removed for travel to Canada. This will mean significant chances to substantive considerations, processes and timelines.
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