The Canadian government has put into effect a process to speed up the delivery of visas to many Mexican citizens wishing to travel to Canada.
There is no indication that Ottawa intends to scrap the visa requirement in the near future but the move may go some way to assuaging the irritation it provokes in Mexico.
Under the new system, Mexicans who have travelled to Canada or the United States during the past ten years will be allowed to apply for expedited visa processing. The government said a pilot of the new program, called CAN+, had an approval rate of more than 95 percent, with visas issued in a week or less.
So far this year, 34,000 visitor visas and work and study permits have been issued to Mexican citizens traveling to Canada – a 20-percent increase from the same period last year. A government spokesperson said the visa requirement has cut phony asylum claims from Mexico by 85 percent.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto recently decided to ditch plans to visit Canada in June, partly, according to some Canadian news reports, because he is upset at Prime Minister Stpehen Harper’s unwillingness to ease the unpopular visa requirement.