Prague - Canada will announce the lifting of its visas for Czech citizens this afternoon, a source from diplomatic circles told CTK today.
Na kanadském zastupitelském úřadu ve Vídni 15. července dopoledne čekali čeští žadatelé o víza na bezpečnostní kontrolu a vstup do prostor oddělení k podání žádostí. ČTK Koller Jan
A press conference on the issue will be held at the Canadian embassy in Prague at 14:00 today.
Canada reimposed the visa duty on Czechs in July 2009 due to a high number of asylum seekers from the Czech Republic who allegedly abused the Canadian asylum system.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed in Brussels a month ago that the visa requirements for Czech citizens should be soon abolished. Free movement of people between Canada and the European Union is in Ottava´s interest, he said.
The Embassy of Canada in Prague announced shortly before that the Canadian government had been working on the visa lifting for some time. This will be enabled by extensive changes to the Canadian asylum system, introduced on December 15, 2012.
They should secure a quicker protection of people in need as well a quicker departure of those who do not need to be protected and discourage them from abusing the Canadian asylum system, the embassy said in October.
Since the reintroduction of the visa duty, Canada has issued over 30,000 visas to Czechs and rejected some 500 applicants.
Czech diplomacy has repeatedly protested against the Canadian visa duty. Prague has also connected the visa lifting with its consent to the approval of the EU-Canada trade and business agreements.
Canada reimposed visa requirements on Czech citizens on July 14, 2009, in reaction to a rising number of Czech immigrants, mainly Romanies, who were seeking asylum there.
They said they sought asylum overseas because they are discriminated against in the Czech Republic. However, some sources said they rather sought a better economic life in Canada and abused its asylum system.
Canada argued that visa requirements prevented the mass influx of immigrants.