romea - logo
August 16, 2022



Czech Romany influx to Canada raises fears of visa renewal

Ottawa/New York, 9.5.2008 1:33, (ROMEA/CTK)

Canadian immigration authorities again face a large influx of Czech Romany asylum seekers, which raises apprehensions of visas being reimposed after less than a year, Embassy, Canadian magazine for foreign affairs, has written.

Paul St Clair, head of the Romany community centre in Toronto, told the magazine that Czech Romanies are interested in the refugee status in Canada at present like after April 1996 when Canada lifted its visa requirements for Czechs for the first time.

Number of Czech Romany asylum seekers in Canada increases
Hundreds of Hungarian Roma to travel to Canada visa free
Czech asylum seekers allegedly appear in Canada

However, Canada reintroduced the visa duty in October 1997, citing an excessive number of immigrants. It abolished the visas again last November.

According to St. Clair, the situation concerning the neo-Nazi and skinhead movements in the Czech Republic, which are hostile to Romanies, has worsened since the Czech EU entry in 2004 as the EU's pressure on the Czech Republic is lower than when the Czechs only sought accession.

Most towns are full of skinheads. People, mainly Romanies, are attacked, everyone with a dark skin is attacked. They are big racists, St.Clair said, referring to the Czech Republic.

He said that if the number of Romany refugees grew, Canada could reintroduce visas for Czechs, which would cast a bad light on it as a country that is reluctant to admit the persecuted.

In late April, the spokesperson for the Canadian embassy in Prague said Canada is not considering reintroducing visas.

Karen Shadd-Evelyn, spokeswoman for the Canadian Ministry for Immigration, told the magazine that the refugee issue is one of the criteria for Ottawa's decision making on whether the visas should be reimposed.

Canada has been promised by the Czech Republic and Hungary, as well as other new EU states, that they will intensify their cooperation with Canada on issues related to immigration and enforcement of law, Shadd-Evelyn said.

Jeff Sadadeo, director of the institute of European and Russian studies at the Carleton university in Ottawa, said that the reasons behind the immigration of Czech Romanies are serious obstacles they face at home, in areas such as access to education and job opportunities.

At the same time, however, he said it will probably be difficult for the Czech refugees to prove that their request for asylum is substantiated.

The Czech Republic is an open and democratic country, but with a high level of latent discrimination, Sahadeo said.

Views: 1312x

Related articles:


Czech republic, Kanada


More articles from category

romea - logo