As part of Canada’s response to the situation in Türkiye and Syria, the Government of Canada has been processing temporary and permanent residence applications from people affected by the devastating earthquakes on a priority basis, including applications for refugee resettlement. Now, we are also taking steps to make it easier for Turkish and Syrian nationals already in Canada to extend their stay.
Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced new immigration measures to support Turkish and Syrian temporary residents in Canada who may be unable to return home at this time due to the destruction caused by the earthquakes in the region.
Effective March 29, 2023, Turkish and Syrian nationals can continue to study, work or visit family by applying for an extension of their status free of charge. An open work permit pathway will be made available for Turkish and Syrian nationals already in Canada. These measures will make it easier for Turkish and Syrian nationals who wish to extend their temporary status in Canada and to move between temporary streams.
Recognizing that some permanent residence applicants have lost their travel documents as a result of the earthquakes, we will waive the requirement to hold a passport or travel document to be approved for a permanent resident visa to come to Canada. We are also making it easier for Canadian citizens and permanent residents from Türkiye and Syria to return to Canada by waiving fees for temporary passports, limited-validity passports or emergency travel documents, as well as Canadian citizenship certificates and permanent resident travel documents.
These new measures build on work already under way to prioritize overseas applications from those who have been personally impacted by the earthquakes. New and existing temporary residence applications from the affected regions, as well as permanent residence applications—including refugee resettlement applications—are all being processed on a priority basis. This includes visitor visa applications for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, so they can join their loved ones in Canada.
Canada is also working with UN partners in the area to provide temporary shelter for refugees in Canada’s resettlement process who have been seriously impacted while they wait for their applications to be processed. We will continue to closely monitor the needs of people in the region and will adapt our response as needed.