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CANADA EXPANDS SPECIAL MEASURES PROGRAM AMID GAZA CRISIS: INCREASING THE CAP FROM 1000 TO 5000 VISAS

CANADA EXPANDS SPECIAL MEASURES PROGRAM AMID GAZA CRISIS: INCREASING THE CAP FROM 1000 TO 5000 VISAS

Canada pledged that it will be accepting up to 1000 Palestinians vide a special programme which was announced in December, 2023. The process of accepting Palestinians from the Palestine enclave was introduced as a measure to provide a secure path amid Israel’s continued war on Gaza, said the Immigration Minister Canada Marc Miller.

Since 9th of January, the program has become operative in actuality. Under the temporary special measures program for Gazans, Canada has decided to grant temporary resident visas (TRV) to the Gazans whose extended families are residing in Canada. Those who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their relatives who are trapped in the humanitarian catastrophe since October 2023.

Palestinians who are coming to Canada through this programme do not need to worry about financial aspects such as income and settlement options and they can be completely dependent on their families residing in Canada. Additional measures have been adopted by the government of Canada pertaining to Gaza crisis program including health coverage to the Gazans to meet any urgent medical needs, and settlement services to settle in as temporary residents. Canadian government has allowed the Gazans who are fleeing Gaza can stay in Canada up to a period of three years and then can apply for study or work permit afterwards to continue living in Canada. The special program has also waived off other requirements that are otherwise necessary to enter into Canada. However, the general requirement of biometrics is still intact to be admissible to Canada.

Cap Increased From 1000 To 5000 Visa Applications

Initially, a cap of 1000 visa applications was placed on the programme allowing Gazans to enter into Canada. According to Canada’s Immigration Department’s Deputy Minister Harpreet Kochhar, “The reason for the cap is that Canada wanted to see how many Palestinians it can help facilitate to leave Gaza, and then later on they can increase the cap after seeing the volume of how many they can bear.” Given the unprecedented humanitarian crises in Gaza, the cap on the number of visa applications was unequivocally criticized by the families who were eager to protect their relatives in Palestine and complained by the people alike who voiced their anger and frustration that no such cap was placed and no requirement of eligible anchor was included for Ukrainian refugees who fled Russian invasion and came to Canada.

Following the latest deadly Israel’s attack on Rafah safe camp on 26th May 2024 and its continued onslaught since October 2023, now the cap has been expanded and Canada has announced to offer visas to up-to 5000 Palestinians under the Gaza Crisis special measures program. “With this cap increase, we will be ready to help more people as the situation evolves. Our focus remains on keeping families together,” Marc Miller stated on 27th May 2024.

Process of applying for temporary resident visa under special measures programme comprises of three stages.

  • In first stage, statutory declaration form and a personal information form has to be submitted. Statutory declaration form serves as a verification from the Canadian sponsor that he/she is willing to support the member of his/her extended family. While the personal information form

needs to completed will all necessary information as it goes along with stage 3 requirements and holds significance.

  • In second stage, a crisis web form will be submitted which will generate a web reference code.
  • Third stage is about the filing of TRV application through the IRCC Portal.

Who Is Eligible Under The Special Measures Program?

Two groups who are eligible under this programme. Under the first group, an individual is eligible if he/she has a valid passport, living in Gaza on the day when he/she is submitting the application, has an eligible anchor, spouse or common-law partner, child (of any age), grandchild, parent, grandparent, sibling (half-siblings and adopted siblings included), and not inadmissible to Canada. The second group includes the family members of those who are given in group one.

It is strictly forbidden for the anchor to charge you anything for sponsoring you and since they are undertaking to sponsor you, therefore, he/she is required to help you get acquainted with Canada’s basic living style so that they feel integrated within the Canadian system.

No wonder that the program is currently engulfed with a multitude of hindrances because the TRV applications under the program are subject to the Israel and Egypt support in order to implement these temporary measures program with full force. However, it is hoped that Canada will continue thriving to protect extended families of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in these times of terror and violence.

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