Mexico Visa Exemption
- The Public Safety Portfolio, along with Canadian law enforcement partners across the country and abroad, are working collaboratively and proactively to monitor and respond to increased levels of irregular migration associated with visa-free travel from Mexico.
- Since 2016, the CBSA has received approximately $20 million per year to manage the impact of the visa exemption for Mexican citizens.
- This funding has been used to reinforce the Agency’s network of International Liaison Officers and to support increased processing and asylum claims at ports of entry and inland enforcement activities.
- Since the visa exemption, the CBSA augmented its permanent capacity by one international network manager and two additional liaison officers. Additionally, by the end of fiscal year 2019-2020, we will have deployed 8 temporary duty liaison officers of various durations (6 weeks to 6 months).
- In this same period, over 7,400 Mexican nationals have been intercepted overseas for being improperly documented or for suspected travel document fraud.
If pressed (on risks and thresholds):
- Since the visa exemption (December 1, 2016), Canada’s immigration system has been under increasing stress due to the volumes of asylum claimants and other inadmissible persons travelling to Canada on a Mexican passport.
- For example, since the visa exemption, over 11,000 asylum claims were made by persons travelling on a Mexican passport (Mexico now the 2nd top source country of asylum claimants).
- Out of respect for our bilateral relationship with Mexico, I cannot comment on any set thresholds for asylum claims.
On December 1, 2016, the Government of Canada lifted the visa requirement for Mexican nationals travelling to Canada. As of that date Mexican citizens, like other visa-exempt foreign nationals, have not required a visa to fly to or transit through Canada. They do, however, require a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) when travelling to Canada by air.
When the visa requirement was lifted, funding in the amount of $212 million over five years and $47 million ongoing was sought across all partners to manage the immigration-related risks. Ongoing pressures due to irregular migration associated with the Mexico visa exemption contributed to the Government’s decision to allocate additional funding for Canada’s asylum system in Budget 2019.
Trends and risks associated with the visa exemption for Mexican nationals are expected to continue. Likewise, funding pressures on the CBSA are expected to grow as the Agency manages the risks associated with these migration trends.
The CBSA will continue to work with partners to monitor and to respond to those risks to ensure the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and the safety and security of Canadians.
Of note, at the time of the visa exemption, the Government set a threshold for asylum claims which would trigger a reconsideration of the visa exemption [Redacted]. However, this number should not be made public.
Prepared by: Yuan-Kuen Wang, Senior Policy Analyst, Strategic Policy Branch, 613-957-9314
Approved by: Kathy Thompson, Vice President, Strategic Policy Branch, [REDACTED]
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