Canada immigration expected to remove Canada visa requirements for Czechs

The announcement by the Czech minister comes after meeting interior ministers of EU.

If, on the other hand, requirement of Canada visa for Czechs is not removed, it might result in blocking the trade agreements by Prague, Melichoarova stated. The issue of mandatory requirement of Canada visa for Czechs was raised a number of times by several members of the European Parliament apart from Catherine Ashton, chief of EU foreign affairs. At present, all Czech nationals wanting to enter Canada require Canadian visas.

It may be worth recalling that due to soaring number of Czech gypsies seeking entry to Canada and making asylum claims in Canada, Canada immigration had introduced a stricter policy for Czech and Mexican nationals in July 2009. This had led to widespread tensions in both the affected nations.

Until July 2009, Czechs had enjoyed visa-free travel to Canada for a period of almost two years. However, Canada immigration department had dropped Canada visa requirements for nationals of Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Lithuania way back in March 2008 and had vowed not only to ensure visa-free travel for various European Union citizens but also to cooperate with Romania and Bulgaria. Canadians are eligible to travel anywhere within 27-nation EU without any visa and EU is seeking a similar provision for its 493 million nationals for visits to Canada.

The move of imposing visa restrictions by Canada immigration department on Czech nationals has attracted criticism from Brussels and Prague. In a bid to retaliate Canada’s step, European nations had threatened to introduce visa restrictions on Canadian diplomats last year. However, the issue is expecting a positive outcome following ongoing negotiations between Canada and Czech Republic. The issue of requirement of Canada visa by all Czech nationals wanting to visit Canada will be discussed between officials from Canada and European Union in the EU-Canada summit to be held in Brussels on 5th May, 2010.