July 22nd, 2024

Immigration department says 144 Gazans on track to come to Canada, pending biometrics

By The Canadian Press on January 17, 2024.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller delivers remarks at a press conference in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. The government has processed visa applications for 144 people in the Gaza Strip, which means they are on track to be approved to reunite with extended family members in Canada — as long as they can make it across the border for biometric screening. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

Ottawa has processed visa applications for 144 people in the Gaza Strip, putting them on track to be reunited with extended family members in Canada – as long as they can make it across the border for biometric screening and final approval.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada opened a program to offer temporary visas to as many as 1,000 people in the besieged Palestinian territory, if their relatives can support them in Canada.

But Immigration Minister Marc Miller has warned that the federal government cannot guarantee people will be able to cross the border out of Gaza, which is tightly controlled by Israel and Egypt.

The 144 people who have made it through most of the application process as of Tuesday will still need to undergo further screening in Egypt, including biometrics, before they will be granted a visa.

The Immigration Department began accepting applications on Jan. 9, but hasn’t yet said how many it has received so far.

The department says the time it takes to process an application varies from person to person depending on the information they provide.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2024.

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