The handful of Mexican students planning to attend Red Deer College should see few difficulties under Canada’s new visitors’ rules, says the college’s international programs co-ordinator.
Earlier this week, the federal government added Mexico and the Czech Republic to the list of countries whose citizens must have temporary resident visas to be allowed entry to Canada.
Czech Republic was among a group of former Eastern Bloc countries removed from the list earlier this year, said Scott Deederly, constituency assistant for Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen.
It and Mexico were both put on the list because immigration offices have been getting a surge of requests for asylum from their citizens during visits to Canada, Deederly said on Wednesday.
Unannounced beforehand, the decision has created a furor of activity among Mexicans and Czechs who are in the midst of making plans to visit Canada, including some who have already purchased air fare. WestJet will defer tickets for its passengers, but Air Canada has not yet made a similar announcement, said Deederly.
The visa requirement will mainly affect people planning on short-term visits, because people coming here to work or study will have already applied for permits.
However, they will now need to acquire the visas as well, said Lucy Astill, international student programs co-ordinator for Red Deer College. Like all visitors, Mexican students already here will have to apply for extensions to stay longer than six months, said Astill.
Fewer than a dozen Mexican students are expected to enter Red Deer College this fall, she said.
“All the Mexican students in our summer courses are landed immigrants, so it doesn’t really affect them.”
Students coming for the fall term will have already applied for their study permits, but will now need to get the temporary resident visas as well.
Astill does not anticipate any major problems for those students because they are already in the system and will therefore have satisfied most of the requirements.
Cristian Vale, who immigrated from Mexico about 15 months ago, said on Wednesday that she doubts most Mexicans are even aware of the change.
It is “annoying,” however, because the Canadian embassy in Mexico City is the only place where people can make their applications in person, mail service is undependable and couriers are too expensive, said Vale, assistant for the volunteer interpreter program at Central Alberta Refugee Effort.
“I have family and friends visiting all the time, so now they have to go through all these unknown processes to get to Canada.”
Deederly said his office has received only a few inquiries regarding Mexican visitors so far but is expecting more in the coming days.
There have been no inquiries from Czechs, he said.