Canada Denies Plan For Hungarian Visas

Canada denies plans for Hungarian visas

October 8, 2009

OTTAWA—-Canada has no intention of reintroducing visas for Hungarian citizens, an immigration spokeswoman told AFP Thursday following Hungarian media reports to the contrary.

“The government of Canada has no plans to impose a visa on Hungary at this time,” said Kelli Fraser, a spokeswoman for Canada's department of citizenship and immigration.

She also dismissed reports by the Hungarian news agency MTI that Ottawa had threatened to reintroduce the visa requirement abolished in March 2008 if Budapest failed to stem the flow of political asylum seekers to Canada.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney traveled to Hungary in June 2009 to meet with his counterpart to “discuss the number of asylum claimants coming to Canada from Hungary” after their numbers spiked suddenly, said his office.

In the first half of this year, 790 Hungarians made refugee claims, including 610 from April 1 to June 30.

In July, Canada imposed visa requirements for travelers from Mexico and the Czech Republic after refugee claims from these two countries soared. Mexico and the European Union threatened retaliation.