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Canada may lift tourist visa requirements for those visiting from the Czech Republic within the coming months according to the Czech Deputy Interior Minister, Lenka Ptackova Melicharova. After meeting with other European Union Interior Ministers last week, Melicharova made the announcement.
After almost three years of not requiring visas for visitors from the Czech Republic, Canada made it a requirement because of an increased amount of Refugee claimants, and they also added Mexico to the list for the same reason.
The tourist visa (or temporary resident visa) requirements will be discussed further at the European Union-Canada summit taking place on May 5th.
At the summit, the European Union is also expected to request that Canada remove the visa requirements that are currently in place for Bulgaria and Romania along with the requirement in place for the Czech Republic.
In 2008, Citizenship and Immigration Canada removed the visa requirements in place for Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Lithuania. The European Union is believed to expect more of a fair balance between the visa requirements of each area, as Canadians do not need visas to travel to any of the countries within the European Union.
According to Melicharova, the Czech Republic can block the ratification of the trade agreement that is being negotiated between Canada and the European Union if the visa requirement is not lifted.
We applaud this move by the EU. Canada’s refugee problems are an internal issue and well meaning applicants from other nations should not be unduly penalized for our broken system. The Conservative government recently came to its senses for Mexican business visitors as we have reported here. Let’s hope similar developments are duplicated in Europe.
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