Posted on May 29, 2024

Canada Announces Five-Fold Increase in Visas for Palestinians in Gaza

Al Jazeera, May 28, 2024

Canada has announced a five-fold increase in visas for Palestinians in Gaza seeking to join their family members in the country, despite the Canadian government’s inability to help applicants get out of the bombarded Palestinian enclave.

Minister of Immigration Marc Miller said on Monday that Ottawa would raise to 5,000 the number of visas offered to residents in Gaza under a special programme announced in December.

“We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Gaza. Many people are worried about their loved ones and have expressed significant interest in the temporary special measures we introduced for their extended family in Gaza,” Miller said in a statement.

Miller said the government is working to assist Palestinians trying to leave Gaza, but that movement out of the territory is currently not possible due to factors outside Ottawa’s control.

Gaza residents who wish to join family in Canada must obtain approval from Israeli authorities to leave the territory, before undergoing biometric screening in Egypt.

Israel’s military earlier this month seized control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt as part of its offensive in the southern city.

“While movement out of Gaza is not currently possible, 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,” Miller said.