On March 18, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced new immigration measures to support Turkish and Syrian nationals who have been affected by the earthquakes that devastated the region last month.

These new measures will take effect on March 29, 2023, and will include the following:

  • New and existing temporary and permanent residence applications from the affected regions, including visitor visa applications for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, will be prioritized.
  • Turkish and Syrian temporary residents in Canada will be able to apply for open work permits. They will also be able to move between temporary categories (e.g., from a visitor to worker).
  • Processing fees will be waived for Turkish and Syrian nationals who are already in Canada as temporary residents applying to extend their stays as visitors, workers, or students.
  • Permanent residence applicants will not be required to hold a passport or travel document, as some applicants may have lost those documents as a result of the earthquakes.
  • Processing fees will be waived for Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Turkiye and Syria applying for temporary passports, limited-validity passports, emergency travel documents, citizenship certificates, and permanent resident travel documents.

The special measures will end on September 25, 2023. Further details about the programs will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

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