Roma in firing line as Canada moves to end abuses
As many as 10,000 may be kicked out; Hungary says it is prepared
Posted on 22 June 2012, Author: Attila Leitner
The “Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act” has passed the vote in the country’s House of Commons and is heading to the Senate, where its likely passage could put a stop to Hungarian Roma flocking to Canada and claiming refugee status.
Though the legislation does not say it in so many words, it is designed to repel the waves of Roma seeking asylum and then often cheating the system by returning to Hungary while still receiving aid in Canadian dollars.
The other intention is to equalise the visa status of European countries as differences make it difficult for Canada to reach a free trade deal with the EU. While Hungarians are off the hook, the same cannot be said for Czechs, whose visa exemption was revoked in July 2008 after a mushrooming in the number of asylum claims made by its Roma, who claimed they were the victims of persecution at home.
Angered by the move, the Czech Republic called on the EU – in vain – to impose visa restrictions on Canadians travelling to Europe. Brussels has expressed irritation at the policy of Canada and the US to continue to treat EU countries on an individual basis, rather than negotiating reciprocal visa deals with the 27-member bloc as a whole.