Canada Deciding Whether to Lift Visa Restrictions from Czech Republic

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Canadian experts visiting Czech Republic

czech girl

Image credit to colinlogan on flickr

In an effort to determine whether Canada can safely lift visa restrictions on travelers from the Czech Republic, the Canadian government is sending experts to Prague.  According to Alykhan Velshi, the spokesman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the five-day “information gathering visit” will involve meeting with representatives of Czech state and non-profit sectors.

The last time visa requirements were removed, in late 2007, the number of Czech claimants immediately rose.  Canada’s fact-finding mission, starting January 31, will attempt to uncover the reasons that caused the influx.  Furthermore, Canada will look into the Czech government’s plans and strategies to help combat the amount of immigrants.

The majority of Czech immigrants are Romanies, who claim to be persecuted in their home country, and seek asylum in Canada.  The large number of migrants caused a strain on social services in Hamilton, Ontario, where many attempted to settle.

“The experts are going to research how the Czech authorities protect minorities and assist their integration,” the Czech Press Agency reported Friday.

History of Visa Issues between Canada and Czech Republic

Restrictions on visas from the Czech Republic were in effect since 1997, until they were lifted in 2007.  When they were imposed again in 2009, the Czech government was disappointed.  The Czech parliament’s lower house expressed their dissatisfaction by blocking a Canada-European Union agreement on air transportation.

Romanies leaving Czech Republic abuse of Canadian immigration system?

Although Romanies are known to be discriminated against, some experts suggest that the ethnic group chooses Canada for a better economic life.

Also, information emerged of a profitable business that some mediators ran when assisting the immigration of Romanies.  Plus, the refugee status claimants had abused the Canadian welfare system.

Canada has not said when it will lift the restrictions on the visas for Czech residents, but it won’t happen until Canada adopts a new asylum system.

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