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‘No current plans’ to increase Canada immigration department staff in wake of U.S. election

Click to play video: '‘No current plans’ to increase Canada immigration department staff in wake of U.S. election'
‘No current plans’ to increase Canada immigration department staff in wake of U.S. election
WATCH ABOVE: Canada's immigration department says there are no plans to increase staffing levels in the wake of the U.S. Election results. There have been reports the government may have been preparing for a possible spike in Mexican immigrants. Gary Bobrovitz has more – Nov 11, 2016

A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told Global News Friday there are no plans to increase department staffing levels in the wake of the U.S. election results.

A CBC report cited sources who said “high level meetings took place this week” with immigration officials, who were reportedly “accelerating” a plan to cope with a possible spike in Mexican migrants, given Donald Trump was elected south of the border.

Immigration department spokesperson Sonia Lesage wrote in an email to Global News:

She said the immigration levels plan establishes the number of immigrants expected to be admitted to Canada within each year. It predicts between 280,000 and 320,000 new permanent residents will immigrate to the country in 2017 in total, but doesn’t break down the numbers by country. Canadian citizenship is the next step after permanent residency.

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An executive with the Calgary Mexican Canadian Cultural Society doesn’t expect to see an influx in applications to the country.

“I don’t really see that being the case in Canada,” Carlos Rios said.

Trump’s campaign platform included building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, along with deporting illegal residents and undocumented workers.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said in June. “They’re sending people who have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems with us.  They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said Canada will lift its controversial visa requirement for Mexican visitors starting Dec. 1, 2016 in a story that began trending on Globalnews.ca Friday, despite its June publication date.

The previous Conservative government imposed visas in 2009 to stop thousands of asylum claims being made by ineligible Mexican citizens – a controversial move that had stood as the major irritant between the two countries ever since.

The Opposition Conservatives have argued the visa should not be lifted until its impact can be properly assessed.

“My one caution for this government is that they have decided to lift that exemption without undergoing a formal review of things like security checks within the Mexican passport process,” federal immigration critic and Calgary MP Michelle Rempel told Global News on Friday.

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WATCH: A new poll shows that while a majority of Canadians are discouraged by Donald Trump’s election, but many are sympathetic to the anger and divisions in the United States. Robin Gill explains. 
Click to play video: 'Donald Trump’s election not necessarily viewed favorably by Canadians'
Donald Trump’s election not necessarily viewed favorably by Canadians

The Tories have said the asylum rate for Mexican nationals fell below one per cent over the last four years, down from 25 per cent just before the visa requirement was put in place in 2008.

The Liberals promised during last year’s election campaign that the visa would be lifted, but the process had been fraught with delays.

Once the visa requirement is lifted, the Liberal government said Mexicans wanting to work or study in Canada will still need to apply for a work or study permit prior to their arrival.

“Mexican citizens should also be aware that – once the visa is lifted – they will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly or transit through Canada,” the government said in a June statement. “Applying for an eTA is a simple, inexpensive (CAD$7) process that takes just minutes to complete online.”

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The eTA is valid for five years or until the passport expires. All visa-exempt foreign nationals – except for U.S. citizens – need an eTA to fly to or transit through Canada, the statement said.

With files from Global’s Gary Bobrovitz and The Canadian Press

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