Visa Requirements for Mexican NationalsPublished on 2 May 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Percy Downe
Hon. Percy E. Downe:
Minister, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
The Government of Canada has lifted the visa requirement for Mexico. That was very well received, but I read numerous reports in the media about the number of asylum seekers rising on a year-over-year, month-over-month basis. I’m just wondering what your discussions with the government of Mexico are. It’s in their best interests to coordinate this at their end so Canada doesn’t have to restore the visa at some point. What is your government doing in discussions with Mexico to prevent that happening?
Hon. Ahmed D. Hussen, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: Thank you, senator, for that important question. In terms of the visa lift for Mexico, it’s part of our effort to rebuild the important bilateral relationship that we have with Mexico. The visa lift will improve bilateral relations with Mexico. It will also contribute to lasting economic benefits for Canada. We have already seen the benefits. Compared to the previous year when the visa was in place, we are already seeing a threefold jump in Mexican tourists, as well as business travellers. This will create lasting economic benefits for our country.
We continue to work very closely with Mexican officials to address any risks associated with the visa lift, and we monitor any risks and work with them to solve it. We have been carefully monitoring these migration trends. We have seen a modest increase in asylum claims from Mexico, but we anticipated that, and we had put in place the resources to deal with this in terms of supporting the Immigration and Refugee Board, which is the body that hears these claims.
But that is more than outweighed by the lasting economic benefits that we have seen — a threefold jump in legitimate travellers, business travellers, tourism, tourist travellers, as well as the improved contribution that this visa lift has had on our bilateral relations with Mexico.
We continue to engage our Mexican counterparts to make sure that any risks will be addressed in our engagement. We work with them very closely, and we have meticulously monitored the migration trends to ensure we can address any risks associated with the visa.