The Government reached out to Atlantic Canada’s largest Lebanese community recently, promising to do what it could to ease the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.
Immigration Minister Monte Solberg met with Lebanon’s honourary consul in Halifax. Mr. Solberg wanted to stress that his government was doing “everything it could” to help Canadian citizens in Lebanon adding that it has also “done what it can to bring peace to the Middle East.” He continued by saying that “People can disagree about the [Canadian government’s] methods”, however the goal is clear. “We want to make sure they’re [Lebanese Canadians] safe […] It is a moral obligation.”
Calls from loved ones caught between the crossfire of the most recent Middle East conflict are pouring in all across the country. Lebanese Canadians, numbering over 30,000 in Lebanon alone are frantically trying to return to Canada. In addition, there are a number of Lebanese citizens and university students already in Canada on visitor visas who are unwilling to return to their war-stricken homeland.
A fast-track process is available for Lebanese immigrants whose applications are in the system, said Solberg. Canada’s Immigration Department has designed a priority program to expedite the processing of applications by refugees who are in Canada and who want to reunite with dependent family members still in Lebanon.
The Immigration Department is also making all existing family-class applications in Lebanon a priority. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg was quick to stress that fast-track processing must still go through all the usual immigration medical and security checks.
DFAIT’s Emergency Operations Centre has been responding to phone calls and e-mails from both Canadians currently in Lebanon, and their family and friends in Canada.
We urge Canadians affected to contact the Emergency Operations Centre. From Canada, you can call toll-free at 1-800-387-3124.
From Lebanon, Canadians can call the Embassy at 961 (4) 713-900 or collect at 001-613-996-8885 or by e-mail at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Related news: CIC Update on the Middle East: Immigration and Evacuation from Lebanon