Ottawa considers visas for Hungarians

Move could prompt backlash from European Union

Ottawa is considering imposing visa requirements on visitors from Hungary to stem a growing flood of refugee applicants, according to the Canadian Press.

Last summer, Canada imposed visas on visitors from Mexico and the Czech Republic.

A visa requirement for Hungarian visitors could provoke even more backlash from the European Union, which has spoken out against the requirement for Czech travellers.

Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and Canada lifted the visa requirement for Hungarian visitors in the spring of 2008, when it also lifted the visa requirement for visitors from Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia.

Since then, there has been a steady increase in the number of refugee claims from Hungary and in the past year the numbers have increased dramatically, especially among the country's Roma community.

The number of monthly claims was usually between 20 and 40 immediately after the visa requirement was lifted. By the fall of 2009, the monthly total was about 200, making Hungary one of the top three sources of refugee claimants.

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