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Peru and Mexico to remove visa barriers

Peru and Mexico have announced plans to create a visa-free agreement for entrepreneurs, students and academics moving between the countries. The suggestion – first mooted at a summit between Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru in December – is designed to bolster trade.

“It may be cheaper, closer and there isn’t the limitation of the language"

“The main purpose is to facilitate contacts and economic agreements. Therefore, the first step is to work on a free visa agreement, then we will continue with other steps,” the Mexican ambassador to Peru, Manuel Rodriguez told the Andina news agency yesterday.

Education agents in Peru reacted positively to the news. Ursula Garcia of Latino Australia Education, Lima, said: “We mainly send students to Australia, but the new agreement with Mexico would be really helpful for us. Mexico is a big country, we would love to work with them.”

Jacyra Marquez, counsellor at Viaja Y Estudia, Lima said: “It may be cheaper, closer and there isn’t the limitation of the language, which could make things easier and faster. I think Peruvian students will be interested.”

A Mexican agent was less keen. “Mexican students are more interested in Argentian, Colombia, Chile. I don’t know if Peru will be a good idea,” he said.

A report released by NUFFIC last month found evidence of increasing student mobility within Latin America, with countries increasingly trying to attract foreign students from their neighbours. Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Chile were all flagged.

Agreements lowering barriers to mobility were also said to be becoming more commonplace, such as the Inter-American Organisation for Higher Education, launched 2010, which hopes to create a Latin American-Caribbean higher education space.

Dr Rosa Becker, co-author of the report, told The PIE News that the arrangement between Peru and Mexico was in line with broader trends and was likely to drive mobility.

“We mainly send students to Australia, but the new agreement with Mexico would be really helpful for us”

“Most higher education institutions in Latin America are not strongly internationalised yet, but attention to internationalisation is growing. It will be interesting to see if other facilitating measures, or other countries in the region, will follow,” she said.

Rodriquez said that Mexico would need to handle the arrangement with care given the immigration concerns of the United States, reported Andina. However, he suggested the process had begun in spirit, as Mexico had already removed charges for visas and simplified the application process for some trade partners.

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