For many years now Mexico has been associated with crime ridden drug gangs, violence, corruption and political instability. While these negative aspects of historic Mexico have changed dramatically over the last few years it was only this week that the Canadian Immigration Services formally recognised Mexico as no longer being a genuine source of refugees.
There are a number of aspects taken into consideration with regards to this recent ruling many of which are positive for Mexico as a whole, future Mexican expats and also the Canadian immigration system.
Fast tracking refugee claims
Canadian immigration officials recently introduced a list of countries no longer deemed to be a genuine source of refugee claims. The idea of this particular list, which has courted controversy, was to ensure that any refugee claims from these countries were fast tracked with a more than 50/50 chance of being rejected. It may have taken a few years for Mexico to filter through the system but this does pave the way for genuine expats looking to move to Canada, from Mexico and other countries, to receive a more favourable ruling.
The Mexican refugee status had caused some problems with regards to Canadian-Mexican relations because ultimately all claims made by those from Mexico were vigorously scrutinised. Amid claims that Canada was anti-Mexican expats this latest move should herald a new period in relations between the two countries.
Refugee applications from Mexico
It may surprise many to learn that Mexico was the top source of refugee claims in Canada during 2009. Indeed a total of 9,000 Mexican refugee claims were placed before the immigration services in that year with only 8% accepted and the rest rejected for a variety of different reasons. The fact is that some of these applications, perhaps more than were accepted, were valid and truthful but because a number of bogus applications were made during 2009 this did muddy the water somewhat.
The success of the ongoing immigration fast-track list is there for all to see when you consider that Mexico, having been the top source of refugees in 2009, will not even register in the top 10 for Canadian refugee applications in 2012. This perfectly illustrates how various controls can change the hearts and minds of those making bogus applications and in theory leave the way clear for those making standard visa applications and requests to move to Canada.
Changes in Mexico
To those who have not investigated Mexico of late in any real depth the stigma of years gone by can still be very strong in the shape of drug gangs, crime and corruption. While it would be misleading to suggest that all of these issues have been stamped out, the truth is that great progress has been made, Mexico is now deemed safer than it has been for many years and indeed the government is very much on the ball. Many of these changes have been forced through because of economic implications, reduced international investment and this stigma which would under normal circumstances place Mexico on an expats blacklist.
Thankfully expats are now looking towards South America for a variety of different reasons and Mexico seems to feature heavily. There is now a genuine two-way immigration relationship between Mexico and other countries around the world and the lifting of the valid refugee status by the Canadian authorities is another welcome move. Each of these small incidents on their own may look nothing but when you start putting them together they do improve the reputation, the attraction and the status of Mexico going forward.
It is interesting to see that the Canadian authorities no longer see Mexico as an unsafe country and the lifting of the valid refugee status is interesting. The very fact that already the number of Mexican refugee applications have fallen dramatically, since 2009, perfectly illustrates the worthiness of the current system despite the fact it has received a mixed welcome.
Mexico is certainly moving from the shadows, Mexico is economically prosperous at this moment in time and fast becoming an expat magnet. For those looking to move to Mexico there are many things to be positive about although you will still need to do your homework.
Check out the Gringos.com website for advice and assistance in moving to Latin America, cost of living questions and information on the standard of living.