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Canada lifts visas for Czechs, Latvians, but not Bulgarians, Romanians

Date: 04.11.2007

Canada's government announced Thursday it has decided to the visa requirement for visitors from the Czech Republic and Latvia.

"We are committed to the free and secure movement of people between the EU and Canada," Citizenship and Immigration Minister Dianne Finley said in a statement.

"We are also committed to the objective of visa-exempt status for all EU member states," the minister added.

Visa requirements still apply to travellers from Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic.

Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary all joined the EU in May 2004, Bulgaria and Romania entered the European block at the beginning of 2007.

They dropped their respective visa requirements for Canadian visitors to their countries in accordance with EU regulations. However, Canada replied with a reciprocal measure only for visitors from Cyprus, Slovenia, Malta and Estonia.

Canadians can travel anywhere in the 27-nation EU without a visa, and the EU would like all its 493 million people to enjoy the same privilege in Canada.

At the end of November last year Canada eased rules for foreign workers, making it easier for employers in the booming western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia to hire temporary foreigners.

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