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This article was updated more than 6 months ago. Some information may be outdated.

Canada announced a number of measures for Turkish and Syrian nationals following the devastating earthquake in February.

As part of Canada’s response to the situation in Türkiye and Syria, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been prioritizing temporary and permanent residence applications from people affected by the earthquakes, including refugee applicants.

IRCC is also taking steps to allow Turkish and Syrian nationals already in Canada to extend their stay.

This weekend, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced new immigration measures to support Turkish and Syrian temporary residents in Canada who may not be able to return home at this time due to the destruction caused by the earthquakes.

From March 29 to September 25, 2023, Turkish and Syrian nationals can continue to study, work or visit family by applying to extend their status for free. IRCC will also make an open work permit pathway available for Turkish and Syrian nationals who are 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 (such as work, student, visitor).

In addition, given that some permanent residence applicants have lost their travel documents as a result of the earthquakes, Canada will waive the requirement to hold a passport or travel document to be approved for a permanent resident visa.

IRCC is 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 IRCC’s efforts to prioritize overseas applications from those who have been impacted by the earthquakes. Canada is offering $50 million in humanitarian support for the earthquake response in Türkiye and Syria.

New and existing temporary and permanent residence applications from the affected regions, are all being processed on a priority basis. This includes visitor visa applications for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents.

As of February 8, 2023, there were close to 16,000 IRCC clients with applications in progress in Türkiye and Syria. Of these, about 750 permanent and 920 temporary residents were from the area impacted by the earthquakes.

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.

Canada is committed to providing relief to those impacted by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in a media release.

“We are already prioritizing the processing of applications from those affected and today we are introducing new measures that make it easier for Turkish and Syrian nationals to extend their stay in Canada and be with their families, while continuing to work and study in a safe environment. Our government will always stand ready to respond to emerging international crises and support those in need.”

For more information, check out the official government webpage. More information about how to apply for these new measures will be available on IRCC’s website in the coming weeks.

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About the author

Shelby Thevenot

Shelby Thevenot

They/Them
Canadian Immigration Writer
Shelby is a journalist, freelance writer, and expert news analyst with more than five years of experience in writing about Canadian immigration.
Read more about Shelby Thevenot
Citation "Turkish and Syrian temporary residents in Canada may extend their stay for free." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

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