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The amount of applications that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) would accept for processing under the temporary exceptional measures for Palestinian extended families in Gaza is going to increase, the organization revealed.

The department declared in January of last year that it would handle one thousand applications for temporary residence visas (TRVs) for candidates who are family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents and who are now in Gaza. In a statement issued on May 27, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said that the IRCC will now process 5,000 applications.

He said that over the past few weeks, IRCC has been issuing more web codes for clients to apply for a TRV. He also acknowledged that movement out of Gaza is not currently possible but said, “The situation may change at any time. With this cap increase, we will be ready to help more people as the situation evolves. Our focus remains on keeping families together.”

IRCC is providing local authorities with the names of those who have passed preliminary screening to help secure their exit from Gaza.

Who is eligible?

According to the most recently available information, to be considered for the TRV applicants must meet the criteria for one of two groups. Those who are considered Group 1 must:

  • have a passport or travel document issued by the Palestinian Authority
  • be in the Gaza Strip on the day their application is submitted
  • have an eligible anchor
  • be the anchor’s
    • spouse or common-law partner
    • child (of any age)
    • grandchild
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • sibling (half-siblings and adopted siblings included)
  • not be inadmissible to Canada for reasons other than financial ones

There is also a group (Group 2) for the family members of those who meet the Group 1 criteria. The department defines family members as :

  • A spouse or common-law partner
  • A dependent child (yours, your spouse’s, or your common-law partner’s)
  • dependent child of a dependent child

Finally, eligible anchors must meet the following criteria. They must be:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • 18 years of age or older
  • related to the person described under group 1
  • living or intending to live in Canada
  • Willing to support the applicant and their family members for one year to help them settle and integrate in Canada

The department notes that some applicants may require a medical exam if they have been in any designated countries or territories for six months in a row (or longer) within the year before they plan to enter Canada. The exam can be completed after leaving Gaza.

How to apply

Eligible applicants must submit a statutory declaration form and a consent form to disclose personal information.

When that stage is complete, applicants must submit a web crisis form for each family unit including the Group 1 applicant and their family members. Each person listed in the statutory declaration form will receive a unique web reference code.

IRCC advises that once a code is received, an applicant should submit their final TRV application quickly as a code is not a guarantee of a space.

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