The Canadian government is currently evaluating the potential implementation of Visa Requirement for Mexicans nationals entering the country. This consideration arises from Canada’s commitment to address refugee inflows and prevent misuse of air travel for unauthorized entry, particularly from Mexico, as reported by the Reuters news agency.
Policy Considerations: Preventing Indirect Access
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc emphasized the need for decisive measures to prevent flights originating from Mexico from serving as an indirect route for individuals to access Canada and claim asylum. The government is actively exploring various measures to ensure the effectiveness of border control and immigration management.
Provincial Concerns: Quebec’s Appeal for Action
The consideration of visa requirements aligns with a letter sent by Quebec Premier François Legault to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in mid-January. In the letter, Legault urgently called on Ottawa to address the influx of refugees into Quebec and sought compensation for the province’s associated costs.
Increasing Pressures on Immigration Management
IRCC is currently facing mounting pressure to enhance the management of immigration, especially in light of the ongoing housing and healthcare crisis in the country. The demand for a more robust immigration strategy has gained prominence, urging the government to reassess and refine its approach to immigration policies.
U.S. Involvement: Shared Concerns
Beyond domestic considerations, Canada is under pressure from the United States to ensure that Mexicans do not exploit Canada as a temporary base for illegal entry into the U.S. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged the ongoing discussions between the two countries on migration-related issues, emphasizing the significance of decisions made by Canadian officials.
Historical Context: Shifting Visa Policies
The discussion on visa requirements for Mexicans harks back to the policy shifts over the past decade. Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper implemented a visa requirement for Mexicans in 2009. However, in 2016, Trudeau’s Liberal government, known for its positive stance on immigration, relaxed this requirement as part of a broader agreement with Mexico.
Unintended Consequences: Surge in Border Crossings
The decision to lift the Canadian visa requirement for Mexicans had unintended consequences, as observed by U.S. officials. Individuals unable to immigrate legally to the United States found an incentive to travel to Canada and attempt to cross the border, leading to concerns about human smuggling networks facilitating such movements.
CUSMA Initiatives: Inclusive Economic Recovery
Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), both Canada and Mexico are actively working on initiatives to foster inclusive economic recovery post-Covid. These initiatives aim to include women-owned businesses, youth, and other underrepresented groups, promoting their active participation in economic activities.
CUSMA Impact on Immigration: Temporary Entry Provisions
CUSMA, which came into effect on July 1, 2020, not only facilitates economic collaboration but also influences immigration dynamics. The agreement allows business people from the U.S. and Mexico to gain temporary entry without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), contributing to seamless economic cooperation.
The Four Categories of Business People: Navigating Entry
Under CUSMA, business people fall into four categories: business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, and traders and investors. Each category has specific criteria and exemptions, facilitating the smooth entry of individuals engaged in international business activities, research, intra-company transfers, and substantial trade or investment.
International Mobility Program (IMP): Streamlining Entry
The immigration-related provisions of CUSMA fall under the International Mobility Program (IMP) in Canada. The IMP is an economic immigration program allowing Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on work permits without the need for an LMIA. This program plays a pivotal role in accommodating business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, traders, and investors.
Employer Compliance and Work Permits: Navigating the Process
Employers engaging in the IMP typically pay an employer compliance fee, except when hiring through an open work permit holder. The process involves creating an employer profile through the IRCC’s Employer Portal, submitting job offers, and adhering to specific criteria. Exemptions from fees exist for certain positions and employer categories.