Temporary resident pathway opens for Palestinian extended family in Gaza

January 9, 2024—Ottawa—The ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, following Hamas’s terrorist attacks on October 7, has created a humanitarian catastrophe on an unprecedented scale in Gaza. Understanding that many Canadians are concerned about the safety of their loved ones in Gaza, in December, the Government of Canada announced new measures to support extended family members who are able to exit the area.

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced the opening of the new temporary resident pathway for extended family members in Gaza of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

This measure provides a temporary safe haven for Palestinians directly affected by the crisis in Gaza who have Canadian citizen or permanent resident family members in Canada willing to support them. Eligible family members include a spouse, common-law partner, child, grandchild, sibling, parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as well as their immediate family members (spouse, common-law partner, dependent child and dependent child of a dependent child).

Once in Canada, eligible people can apply for a fee-exempt study permit or open work permit under the measures already announced. This will help them to better support themselves in Canada while the crisis in Israel and the Palestinian Territories continues. They will also have access to three months of health coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program to help address any urgent medical needs upon arrival, as well as settlement services such as language training and support connecting with the labour market and local community.

Canada continues to work with partners in the region to facilitate the exit of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible family members including extended family members eligible under the new pathway. However, movement out of Gaza remains extremely challenging, and may not be possible due to entry and exit requirements set by countries and other actors in the region. Applicants who are able to exit Gaza will also need to meet all admissibility requirements including biometrics before they can be approved to come to Canada.


“The situation on the ground in Gaza is challenging and volatile. These new measures provide a humanitarian pathway to safety and recognize the importance of keeping families together given the ongoing crisis. We will continue to monitor the situation in Gaza very closely as it evolves and adapt our response accordingly.”

– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts:

  • IRCC has a dedicated service channel for enquiries on these special measures available for people both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted.
  • The exemptions for temporary resident visa applicants under the public policy expire January 9, 2025, or when 1,000 temporary resident visa applications have been received and accepted for processing, whichever comes first.
  • We will be carefully monitoring program volumes as well as the evolving situation on the ground to ensure Canada is continuing to meet the needs of the population.
  • Exemptions at the port of entry for people who hold a temporary resident visa that was issued under the public policy expire on January 9, 2025.
  • These multiple entry temporary resident visas will be valid for up to 3 years or the length of the person’s passport validity, whichever comes first.
  • As of December 21, 2023, the Government of Canada made fee-exempt study permits and open work permits available for immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Where possible, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is also prioritizing the processing of existing and new permanent residence applications for Palestinians within family-based streams.

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