IRCC introduces temporary measures to support those impacted by the Israel-Hamas conflict

Edana Robitaille, Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: December 21, 2023

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced temporary immigration measures to support family members of Canadians and permanent residents currently in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Israelis and Palestinians already in Canada.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller says these measures will “support the assisted departure of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their eligible family members” from the region.

One measure includes the introduction of fee exempt study or open work permits in Canada. To be eligible, the foreign national must be a family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has left Israel and the Palestinian Territories, either with their family members or of their own accord since the beginning of the current regional conflict.

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Israelis and Palestinians already in Canada who feel unsafe returning to the region may also be eligible for the permits. Eligible individuals must have valid temporary resident status to apply.

Prioritizing PR applications for family-class sponsorship

IRCC will also be prioritizing existing permanent residency applications for Palestinians within family-based streams (family class sponsorship).

Eligible applicants under this measure include the spouse, common-law partner, child (regardless of age), grandchild, sibling, parent, or grandparent of a Canadian or permanent resident, as well as their immediate family members.

The Canadian citizen or permanent resident must be currently residing in Canada and have proof of the relationship such as:

  • a copy of the child’s or grandchild’s birth certificate
  • a copy of the child’s or grandchild’s baptismal certificate
  • another official document naming the applicant as the parent or grandparent, such as their family book or civil registration documents.

The department says more details on the measures will be made available soon. In the meantime, IRCC has created a dedicated service channel for questions about on these special measures available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted.

IRCC notes that clients can also check online and add the keyword “MOME2023” to the IRCC crisis web form with their enquiry and it will be prioritized.

Further, Permanent residents and family members of permanent residents and Canadian citizens may be eligible to apply online for time-limited medical coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program to support immediate medical needs upon arrival after their assisted departure from Gaza.

Strong communities in Canada

Canada already has sizeable Israeli and Palestinian populations, due in large part to the country’s ethic of multiculturalism, as well as its work, study and immigration opportunities. In fact, Canada has a history of immigration of both peoples stemming as far back as the 1950s.

As of the 2021 census, there were more than 45,000 persons in Canada of Palestinian decent, and more than 35,000 persons of Israeli decent. Israeli citizens are also eligible to hold dual citizenship with Canada.

Canada’s policy of multiculturalism ensures that all peoples are guaranteed equal rights under Canadian law, regardless of ethnic origin, religious background, or nationality. This policy is a large part of what has led the country to have one of the most successful newcomer immigration and integration efforts of any modern nation.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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