New visa requirement for Mexicans in Canada: write to your MP!

You’ve probably heard about the new visa requirement for Mexicans (and Czechs) that want to visit Canada. According to the Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, Mexicans now require a visa due to the abuse of the refugee claims system by some of us.

For a while I’ve heard stories about these supposed refugees and the immigration advisers that help them, and I have no sympathy for them. But imposing a visa on all Mexicans to address this issue is absurd (it will reduce the number of false refugee claims simply by greatly reducing the number of visitors to the country). There are other, simpler, solutions to the problem that do not involve this sort of imposition. Michelle Collins, at the Embassy magazine, has a good analysis on why this is a bad decision for all the parties involved.

I’m upset about this, not just because this is a significant hurdle for the families and friends of the Mexican community here in Canada, myself included, but because of the way it was executed: the requirement came on an extremely short notice, with a ridiculous grace period of 48 hours, catching the Canadian Embassy in Mexico unprepared to deal with the huge number of visa applications that fell upon it from all the people that had already made plans to visit Canada and causing many families and business people to cancel their travel plans. The new visa is more expensive, and its required paperwork more intrusive, than any other nations’ visa processes I’ve ever needed to go through, including the United States.

So what can we do about this? Val and I redacted a letter that you can send to your MP. If you don’t know who is your MP you can find out here. If you’re a Mexican living in Canada, a Mexican-Canadian, or a Canadian that is at all bothered by this decision, please help us out —all you need to do is print the letter with your MP’s name (editing anything you wish to, of course), and mail it in. Or at least send the letter and our request to your friends. It’s just a few minutes of your time, but it might make a difference for us.

Thanks!

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About Jorge Aranda

I'm currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the SEGAL and CHISEL labs in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Victoria.
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24 Responses to New visa requirement for Mexicans in Canada: write to your MP!

  1. LAYNA segall de velez says:

    You can count of my support on this matter, as well as my mexican husband. This has turned into a nightmare of huge proportions for us and he was denied access to our home, children, possessions, bank accounts etc. he has remained in the US trying to get a VISA for Canada. It is complete bullsh*t.

  2. mcyclops says:

    One thing that scares me is how many Canadians think that this measure is needed and won’t have any repercutions to them. Everyone is focusing in the 8,000 false refugee claims, but very few are asking about the 270,000 visitors to Canada, mainly during the summer, and who is going to replace them. Mexicans came to Canada precisely because we do not need visas to come here to visit or study, if we need to apply for one, we better get one from the States, which have a lot more to offer as a touristic destination, and which offers Visa services in its consulates, contrary to Canada which only offers this service at the Embassy.

  3. mcyclops says:

    FORGOT TO TELL, when writing to your MP’s office in Ottawa, YOU DO NOT NEED A STAMP! It is free. OK, included in our taxes…

  4. mcyclops says:

    Last think, do not use:
    Dear (insert name of MP),
    use:
    Dear Mr./Mrs./
    Ms./Miss (name):

    http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/prtcl/address2-eng.cfm

    And I added the following paragraph after the “Second, the solution was poorly executed…” one:

    Finally, the Canadian visa is the most expensive and requires more documents than any other than a Mexican national can apply for. Considering the number of Mexicans that grace our country (estimations range between 250,000 and 300,000 a year, mainly during the summer) and the amount of dollars expended here, it is illogical to impose such burden in our already hard hit tourist sector.

    • Jorge says:

      Thanks Manuel, good changes and tips. It was too late for me for the no-stamp-required tip, but I imagine this won’t be the last letter I send to the Parliament.

  5. Galax says:

    My wife and I were planning a vacation trip to Toronto and New York latter this year. Well, it will be New York. No chance we will be losing our time getting a health certificate from an official institution, a certificate of no penal convictions from the local police, making copies of financial statements, bank accounts, real state property, proof of a good income work and a two day travel to Mexico City to make a 6-10 hour long line by the curb outside the Canadian embassy (no fast pass as in Disneyland), to convince an embassy clerk, who speaks no Spanish at all, that we have no intention to apply for refugee status in Canada, and besides that paying 75 dollars each of us for a one time entrance visa, which means that if from Toronto we travel to Niagara Falls and go watching the falls to the U.S. side of the river we will not be able to get back to our hotel room in Canada.

    Sorry, Jorge. We do not feel welcome in Canada.

    • Jorge says:

      The paperwork they request is frankly ridiculous. Canada was receiving lots of Mexican tourists because of its no-visa convenience in comparison to the U.S.; now with this hurdle many (like you) will choose not to bother.

      I understand you don’t feel welcome here. Though Val and I do not need a visa ourselves, we feel less welcome as well, discovering an uglier (more stupid, hostile, or discriminatory) side in this country we’d learned to love. All I can say is we’re trying to change this, but it might take a while.

    • mcyclops says:

      Just to be fair, the requirements that Galax mentions are incorrect, you do not need bank statements, health test, or no penal convictions. You do not even need to go to Mexico City since you can send everything by mail (courier being better). The Embassy requires:
      Visa application form
      Additional Information Form
      Family composition Form
      Two recent photos
      Processing fee
      Even if you go to the Embassy, there is no need to make a line, you can drop off the kit in the Visa mail, and you do not need to speak with anybody. BTW, the Embassy clerks speak very good Spanish.

      The price IS ridiculuos, and it is stupid slapping a visa on us. Having said that, I do not agree with Jorge that this is a dark side of Canada, it is just the incompetent Immigration office that instead of cracking down the refugee system punish both visitors and visitees (when we need more tourists than before!).

      • Jorge says:

        You are right in that you do not *need* many of the documents Galax mentioned, but (1) the immigration agent can request the health test or criminal record if s/he wishes, and (2) if you want to come to visit family or friends (as he was planning to), some of those documents are requested to “convince” the agent of your intentions.

        You are also right, without qualifications, in that you do not need to make a line at the Embassy.

        I do think this shows an uglier side of Canada, at least at the federal government level –it hints at either discrimination (which I doubt is the real reason) or stupidity; either way it is disappointing.

      • Galax says:

        Drop my passport in the mail? In Mexico? Come on! I won’t see it ever again in my present life. Send it via DHL and wait up to 45 days -embassy information- before I get it back? What if I need it for other purposes in the meantime?

        No valid alternatives. I would have to travel to Mexico City and make the long line, in the street, under the sun, or under the rain. And I wouldn’t risk getting there without every conceivable kind of document, let the immigration guy discretionally ask for “the one” I didn’t bring with me.

        The Canadian ambassador in Mexico -he seems a good, honest man- has have to declare a lot of nonsense to the press: “This is not a hurdle to Mexicans; take it as a challenge”. (I want to visit my relatives. If I wanted a challenge I would go to the Himalayas).”Plan your trip well in advance”. (Thousands of Mexicans planned their summer trip to Canada well in advance, according to the then existing rules. I would answer the ambassador: “Plan your visa requirements, and let them be known, well in advance”.).

        Who wins and who losses? In my very particular case I see these results: I’ll come out of this affair hurt and feeling that I’m not wanted there (There’s a Mexican saying: I’ve been thrown out from better places); New York will come out of this with double my expending tourist money; Canada will come out of this with an empty hotel room.

  6. Jorge says:

    Yup. When you’re right you’re right.

    According to the Embassy article I linked above, the Canadian ambassador to Mexico was trying hard to stop this nonsense from happening, but in the end it came to a snap decision by the Minister. I’m sure he’s the first to disagree with his own statements.

    I should only add that Canada is a beautiful country. I’m sad you’re not coming; I hope the government will backtrack on this, or at least relax the requirements, so you can come and visit.

    • At the end of the day, it is Canada who loses, There are plenty of beautiful places besides Canada, and for the air fare, I would rather go to Europe. In the middle of a recession, we will miss the 270,000 Mexican tourist, I hope God talks to Harper in a dream (as He usually does) and tell him to shot his minister and get rid of this stupid visa.

      Canada is the best place to LIVE, To visit? There is Wyoming and Washington and Oregon… and even the Adirondacks…

      Now Jorge, grab your slim ass and come to the Sister Province of Québec to show you the real ugly side of Canada, with a lot of joie de vivre, that is….

  7. Fabi says:

    Thanks for doing this! Yes, I will print the letter and mail to my MP. The way they did things was totally absurd and they showed no consideration to Mexico as a country, I mean, Canadians had over 2 years notice to get their passports to travel to the US.
    I came here under the Independent category and I think it is unfortunate that the system was abused by some who claimed refugee status.
    Now, I am not even sure my mom can come visit me! Have you seen the requirements? I think getting a visa to canada might be more difficult that getting one to enter the US.

    They should have developed a system so that mexicans cannot claim refugee status, and let visitors come here.

    I will send this to my friends, I am sure we can do somethign together!

  8. robert warren says:

    My wife and I are Canadian and live in Mazatlan during the winter months. Our home city is in Vancouver (home of the 2010 Olympics).We have many Mexican friends here who would be very interested to visit Vancouver and watch the games, however now we are informed that they will not attend because of the new restrictions. The only way that they can get a visa is to travel to the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City and this will take two days if they are lucky . I wonder how many thousands of Mexican citizens this will affect?? ? and I wonder if our Premier is aware of this situation after he has spent so much of our tax dollars on this grand event, your comments much appreciated

    • Jorge says:

      Robert, it’s true that Canadian tourism is losing with this policy, and possibly will lose more during the Olympics.

      Your Mexican friends should know, though, that they shouldn’t travel to the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City – they will no be received. They need to mail their application (including their passports) to the Embassy, and the Embassy mails the visa & passport back if they accept the application.

  9. paul ward says:

    Im sorry to contradict you. But I love Mexico and I love mexicans.. I have had many stay with me.. they didn’t work, didn’ t go to school ,, i paid everything.. they received much much help here and spent most of their time dancing and on the internet. I tried very hard to offer them a better life,, I figure if they are that way (only some of them, for sure) with ME< then they are that way with the government. You can't just take and take and expect it to never end. You can't falsify documents to stay either,, Unfortunately, I saw this happening before my own eyes. My heart broke to see many friends have to leave. But i did not blame the government this time.

    • Jorge Aranda says:

      Paul, you seem to think that we Mexicans are an awful race of lazy, freeloading, parasitic, good-for-nothing-but-dancing jerks. Yet you say you love us. You’re being a racist hypocrite.

      • mauricio says:

        Hi jorge my name is mauricio and i like all the comments you wrote I was born in honduras but I came to usa when I was 3 months old…what make me mad is that wile countries like canada united states required us latin american countries to apply for visa they can entry our countries with out visa what people don’t know is how hard is to apply for visa to come to usa or canada. And by the way mexican people are the harders workers you can ever meet that guy paul is wrong

      • Jorge Aranda says:

        Mauricio, thanks for the note and best of luck for you. ~Jorge

        Catenary wrote: > New comment on your post “New visa requirement for Mexicans in Canada: write to your MP!” > Author : mauricio (IP: 74.82.64.161 , 74-82-64-161.rdns.blackberry.net) > E-mail : mannyrajack@yahoo.com > URL : > Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/74.82.64.161

  10. Paul, why did you put up with these people in the first place? It looks like you were playing sugar daddy with them, or at least giving them a free ride for a while. Any country has its share of freeloaders and if you stay among them, well, you get what you bargain for.

  11. saul says:

    do we (mexicans) still need a canadian visa?

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