Immigration Minister Chris Alexander revealed that Czech citizens will no longer require temporary residence visas to visit Canada. In 2009, Canada imposed the visa requirement on Czech citizens after a rise in asylum claims from the country’s Roma population. The recent overturn may speak more of commerce than any change of heart. However, it is also expected that asylum claimants from the Czech Republic will be processed more expediently in the future.
All travelers to Canada are obliged to retain a visa, except those from a list of countries exempt from the process under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Canadian policy toward each nation is based on case-by-case assessments. Instances of immigration violations, asylum claims, and the integrity of travel documents, human rights records, border management, bilateral relations, and safety and security issues are taken into consideration. As a result, this exemption has been the result of a review of immigration policy for the Czech Republic.
“Canada values strong ties with our European friends and after working with Czech officials for some time we are pleased to be able to extend visa-free travel for Czech citizens,” said Alexander. “This move is a testament to the strong relationship between Canada and the Czech Republic and reinforces our government’s commitment to facilitate legitimate trade and travel.”
The decision comes in the wake of a new free trade deal between Canada and the European Union.Canada appears onboard with the EU notion of free-flow of people within its member states. The revamping of Canadian policy for the Czech Republic could be seen as an attempt to cooperate with the European model and help to better align policy between the two trading partners.
“This is great news for both the Czech Republic and Canada,” assured Canadian Ambassador Otto Jelinek. “By making it easier for Czechs to visit Canada, we are strengthening the already close cultural and economic ties that exist between our two countries.”
Minister Alexander shares this vision,“this obviously relates to the conclusion of the Canada-Europe comprehensive trade agreement, but also to the hard work that has been done on both sides,” said Alexander. Talks have “restored trust to the point where this is the right thing to do, and we’re very pleased to see the announcement,” he added.
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more updates and tips on Canadian immigration, visit www.canadianimmigration.net. Don’t forget to like FWCanada on Facebook and follow the firm on Twitter.
For more information regarding the changes in requirements click here.