TORONTO – Canada will make it simpler for short-term residents from Turkey and Syria to increase their keep within the nation and can prioritize the visa functions of individuals from these two nations, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser mentioned on Saturday.
Greater than 50,000 individuals have been killed and tens of millions displaced after the 7.8-magnitude quake and a number of other highly effective aftershocks hit southern Turkey and northern Syria on Feb. 6.
Fraser mentioned the federal government will enable individuals from Turkey and Syria who’ve a brief standing to go to household, research or work in Canada to use for an extension and can waive the appliance charges for them.
He mentioned his division may also prioritize processing short-term visa functions for individuals affected by the earthquake.
“For individuals who apply for a brief residency visa, we will deal with their functions with precedence processing,” Fraser mentioned at a information convention in Mississauga, Ont.
“(There are) particular measures that we’re implementing, inner to our system, to supply steering to our officers to facilitate the approval of their circumstances to allow them to come to Canada.”
Fraser mentioned the federal government has discovered from its efforts to just accept individuals fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion of their nation final 12 months. The federal government provided short-term safety to massive numbers of individuals from Ukraine a lot sooner than it might by means of peculiar refugee resettlement packages, he mentioned.
“We’re utilizing a brand new technique to assist facilitate the arrival of people that discover themselves in these conditions (who) ordinarily might not be authorised to come back to Canada,” he mentioned.
“The precise mechanism that we’re utilizing entails the usage of superior analytics inside (the immigration division) system to determine individuals who have been impacted by the earthquake and to render a optimistic eligibility determination for a complete group of candidates directly.”
As of March 10, about 600 Syrian and 6,400 Turkish residents in Canada had short-term standing that’s set to run out throughout the subsequent six months, the federal government mentioned.
There have been near 16,000 Canadian visa candidates from Turkey and Syria as of Feb. 8, together with about 1,700 candidates who stay throughout the space that was impacted by the earthquakes, mentioned the federal government.
Marwa Khobieh, government director of the Syrian Canadian Basis, mentioned the brand new authorities measures to assist these impacted by the earthquake are a begin, however extra work continues to be wanted to assist the survivors.
About 6.9 million individuals had been internally displaced inside Syria earlier than the earthquake and greater than 6.8 million Syrians have been compelled to flee their nation since 2011, together with 3.6 million in Turkey alone, in accordance with the United Nations.
“Not everyone is conscious of the challenges that Syria is dealing with as a result of disaster previous to the earthquake,” Khobieh mentioned.
“Particularly (individuals) in northwest Syria, they don’t have any even authorities that might symbolize them, how are they going to use?”
Khobieh mentioned it’s necessary that the federal government proceed working with group organizations to seek out options to logistical challenges that would forestall many from making use of to come back to Canada.
Sima Acan, president of the Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations, mentioned the federal government response to the earthquake in Turkey and Syria has been gradual and the federal government’s new measures should not sufficient to assist Canadians who need to carry their family members from the earthquake area.
“Nothing was mentioned about (waiving) processing charges for the brand new candidates from the area. Nothing has been mentioned about easing the paperwork (necessities) for the brand new candidates,” she mentioned.
“Hopefully, they may enhance the system however as of now, it doesn’t appear as mature accurately.”
Acan mentioned new candidates want to provide their biometrics so the federal government can course of their visa functions, however many individuals in Turkey and Syria can not journey to a Canadian visa workplace to provide their fingerprints and photographs.
“We steered to have a cellular biometric centre southeast of Turkey, so the northern Syrian individuals can even journey to do their software,” she mentioned. “They’ve cellular items to do biometrics, and so they could have an opportunity to maneuver these items wherever it’s handy for individuals.”
Fraser mentioned he expects that giving biometrics would be the “greatest logistical problem” for individuals who need to apply to come back to Canada for the areas that had been hit by the earthquake.
“Individuals can be required to make their means into a spot the place we’re capable of supply biometrics appointments,” he mentioned. “We will be versatile and transfer among the cellular biometric kits that we’ve got obtainable. It’s one thing we’re prepared to contemplate.”
Ozgure Sekar mentioned he desires to carry his sister and brother to hitch him in Canada after the earthquake destroyed their properties in southern Turkey final month.
The Toronto man travelled to areas broken by the quake to assist his members of the family and associates, earlier than coming again to Canada from the town of Antakya in Turkey earlier this week.
He mentioned his sister misplaced a number of members of her household, together with her 12-year-old son. His brother, who lived within the household home along with his mom, spouse and 4 youngsters, misplaced his residence and job.
“All the town is destroyed. Hundreds of individuals are useless. It’s a really unhealthy state of affairs,” Sekar mentioned in an interview.
“Individuals are staying in tents. Nobody is staying in a home. All homes are destroyed. No electrical energy. The water will not be an excessive amount of. Individuals are crying in psychological shock.”
Sekar mentioned he has been ready for the federal government to make it simpler for Canadians with family members impacted by the earthquake to use for them to come back to Canada.
“There isn’t a alternative to remain there. The cities want 5 to 6 years to be rebuilt,” he mentioned. “The very best alternative is to carry (my sister and brother) for a pair years right here. Stick with me. Mentally, they may turn out to be higher.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed March 18, 2023.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION