Just a couple of months ago now, Canada took a new stance on its visa policy, particularly in regards to Mexican tourists and students wishing to stay in the country for extended periods. Prior to July 13, Mexicans could travel to Canada with no visa restrictions. The changes in policy have been received with mixed feelings by Mexicans and other countries. Some are for the changes since they attempt to curb the number of so-called refugee claims that has been coming from Mexico in the last five years or so.
This move is by no means being well received by the Canadian expat community, which prided its mother country on its open-door policy with its far southern neighbor. Many Canadian expats have made their homes in Mexico. As for the Mexicans themselves, there have been several newspaper feature decrying the unpopular move. The change has put a strain on relations between the two countries.
Canada had built a reputation as a popular vacation and educational destination for Mexican through its visa-free travel policy ever since NAFTA was ratified. Now, that era is over. Approximately, 261,000 Mexican tourists had made their way to Canada in 2008 alone according to reports released by Canadian official. Many tourism operators and marketing groups are sad to see an end to what was a lucrative and popular arrangement.
The implementation of these changes too has ended being rather disorganized as well, prompting more outcries from the Mexicans who must wait in long lines outside the Canadian embassy to receive visas and risk missing flights that were booked before the changes were announced.
There are several indicators that show how important Mexican interest is in continued travel to Canada. In fact, according to the Mexico City-based immigration consultant David Mendez, who sends students abroad to study, Canada ranks as the third most popular travel destination behind the United States and Spain for Mexicans.
Many Canadian expats observing the exchange from Mexico itself and other countries around the world are hoping that Canada rethinks its decision or makes adjustments to accommodate those Mexican residents who wish to travel freely for work, pleasure, or study.