Visa requirement to be lifted for Mexican nationals in Canada

Canada is lifting the Temporary Resident Visa requirement for Mexican citizens beginning December 1, 2016. However, questions remain on how this impacts the process and timing for obtaining Work Permits.

Canada Visa Requirements

What's Changed?

On June 28th Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will be lifting the visa requirement for Mexican visitors to Canada beginning December 1, 2016. Mexico now joins 46 other nations whose citizens can travel to Canada without first obtaining a Temporary Resident (Visitor) Visa.The announcement was made following a state visit to Canada by Mexican Prime Minister Enrique Pena Nieto. The move is part of an ongoing collaboration between Canada and Mexico to deepen ties and increase mutual business activity by improving mobility between the nations.Mexican citizens traveling to Canada after December 1st will only be required to obtain the Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) when traveling to or transiting through Canada. This will significantly shorten and simplify the process for Mexican visitors by eliminating the sometimes lengthy consular visa processing.ETAs may be obtained online at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for a nominal fee (currently CAD $7). In most instances, the eTA is electronically linked to the visitor’s passport within minutes. The eTA is then valid for five years or until the expiration of the visitor’s passport, whichever comes first. While the length of stay is determined by the boarder services officer at the port of entry into Canada, most visitors are allowed to stay up to six months without a visa.The question remains, however, whether Mexican citizens traveling to Canada for work must continue to apply for the Work Permit prior to entering Canada. Prior to 2009 when the current visa requirement was instituted, Mexican citizens were permitted to apply for Work Permits upon arrival in Canada under the NAFTA agreement. Since that time, however, they have been required to apply for Work Permits prior to departure for Canada. Now with the visa requirement being lifted, it could be presumed that Mexican visitors would return to the pre-2009 practice of applying at the point of entry. However, the press release issued June 28th by the Office of the Prime Minister states that “(a)fter the visa requirement is lifted, Mexicans wanting to work or study in Canada will still need to apply for a work or study permit prior to their arrival in Canada.”This sentence of the Press Release leaves some ambiguity in the minds of many mobility professionals as to whether the intent is truly for Mexican citizens to continue to obtain their Work Permits prior to arriving in Canada even after the December 1st lifting of the visa requirement. Pro-Link GLOBAL and our PLG | KGNM Offices in Canada have reached out to visa officials for clarification, while officials from both countries continue to work out the final details ahead of the December visa lifting. Clearly, until that time, it is “business as usual”, and Mexican citizens traveling to Canada for work until November 30th should expect to obtain both their Work Permits and Temporary Resident Visas prior to traveling. As to the practice going forward, Pro-Link GLOBAL will continue to monitor developments and provide updates as available.

How These Changes Affect You

This announcement from Canadian authorities lifting this visa requirement, thereby significantly accelerating the relocation process, is welcomed news to Mexican citizens and their employers who may wish to send them on assignment to Canada. It should also be a lift to the businesses and economies of both nations as they benefit from increased freedom in trade and mobility.Until December 1st employers and their Mexican employees planning on working in Canada should continue to obtain both the necessary Canadian Work Permit and Temporary Resident Visa prior to arriving in Canada. However, after December 1st they no longer need to obtain the Temporary Residence Visa, but instead should obtain the required Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) electronically linked to their passports. As for the Work Permit, Pro-Link GLOBAL believes that the most prudent course is to continue to obtain the Work Permit prior to arriving in Canada. However, we will be watching changes in the Canadian immigration process and continue to provide clarity.Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader
This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. We would like to remind you that Immigration laws are fluid and can change at a moment's notice without any warning. Please reach out to your immigration specialist or your client relations manager at Pro-Link GLOBAL should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by your Pro-Link GLOBAL Knowledge Management team. We worked with our PLG | KGNM Canada Offices “Kranc Associates” and “Rekai LLP” to provide you this update.Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department () with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.

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