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New measures for relatives of Canadians in Gaza | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Children wait for the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt to open in Rafah.

  • Rania Massoud (View profile)Rania Massoud

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Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller announced Thursday new temporary immigration measures for extended family members of Canadians who are still stranded in the Gaza Strip. /p>

We know that many Canadians are worried about the safety of their loved ones in Gaza and that is why we are announcing temporary immigration measures, said Minister Miller during a press conference. These measures are intended to help extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are in the Gaza Strip.

Canada will do so grant temporary residence visas to relatives of Canadians in the Gaza Strip so that they can come to Canada and be reunited with their family members residing here, said Marc Miller.

Extended family members include spouses, common-law partners, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and their family members immediate. Once the temporary visa is issued, it will be valid for a period of three years.

All people who apply to benefit from the program will obviously have to meet eligibility and admissibility criteria before being authorized to come to Canada, the minister said.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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He concedes, however, that it is extremely difficult to leave Gaza, which means that not everyone will be able to benefit from these new measures.

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Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller

We will do everything we can to help, but we cannot guarantee safe passage out of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and besieged by Israel. Canada does not determine who, when or how many people will be able to cross the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the only crossing linking the Palestinian territory to the rest of the world.

Mr. Miller also affirmed that the Liberal government will grant duty-free study permits and open work permits to immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents provided they arrived in Canada after on October 7.

Israel declared war on Hamas in response to the unprecedented attack carried out on October 7 by the Palestinian movement on its soil, which left around 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count. based on the latest official Israeli data.

According to the Palestinian Islamist movement, in power in Gaza since 2007, Israeli military operations in the small besieged territory have kills 20,000.

Since the start of the conflict, Canada has evacuated approximately 600 Canadians, permanent residents, as well as their spouses and children, from the Gaza Strip.

According to Mr. Miller, there are several hundred relatives of Canadians who are still stuck in Gaza, but we do not have a precise estimate at this time.

Why grant a temporary residence visa to people who cannot leave Gaza since the Rafah crossing is closed? It's worth it, the minister said.

We have had some pretty significant difficulties allowing Canadians and permanent residents to leave the border band. Gaza, he added. We cannot guarantee safe passage, but we work with our international partners.

There are many families in Canada waiting for their loved ones. […] There is perhaps hope of seeing more people leave the territory at war, he added. But I have no guarantees from Israel, Hamas or Egypt that these people will be able to get out.

Reacting to this announcement, the New Democratic Party said it “welcomed” the expansion of immigration measures for Gazans.

According to Jenny Kwan, NDP critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, this announcement is long overdue, his party having demanded that Ottawa implement such measures since the beginning of the month during a press conference alongside Canadian citizens who have loved ones stranded in the Gaza Strip.

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