Immigration Measures for Turkish and Syrian Temporary Residents Affected by Earthquakes

New Immigration Measures for Turkish and Syrian Temporary Residents Affected by Earthquakes

The Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, has unveiled new immigration measures aimed at assisting Turkish and Syrian temporary residents in Canada who have been affected by the recent earthquakes and are unable to return to their home countries. The measures, that come into effect on March 29, 2023, will allow Turkish and Syrian nationals to apply for an extension of their status without any cost. Additionally, an open work permit pathway will be introduced for those who are already in Canada.

Let’s explore the new immigration measures for people affected by the devastating earthquakes.


On February 6, 2023, two major earthquakes in southwestern Türkiye and northwestern Syria destroyed thousands of buildings in the country. In the face of the humanitarian crisis, Canada’s Immigration Department has been prioritizing applications from individuals impacted by the earthquakes. This includes:

As of February 8, 2023, there were nearly 16,000 individuals who had filed applications with IRCC in Syria and Türkiye. Out of these, about 1,700 individuals were from the region affected by the earthquakes.

In addition to these efforts, Canada announced $50 million in humanitarian aid to support several critical humanitarian activities in both Türkiye and Syria.

<<Also Read: Canada is a global leader in refugee resettlement >>

Support for Turkish and Syrian temporary residents

From March 29 to September 25, 2023, Turkish and Syrian temporary residents in Canada, who may be unable to return home, can:

  • continue to study, work or visit family by applying for an extension of their status, free of charge;
  • apply for an open work permit pathway that will be available on IRCC’s website in the coming weeks.

Also, IRCC will waive the requirement to hold a passport/travel document to be approved for a PR visa to come to Canada. According to the institution, some applicants may have lost their documents due to the earthquakes.

Further, Canadian citizens and permanent residents (from Türkiye and Syria) returning to Canada can apply for the following documents at no cost:

  • temporary passports,
  • limited-validity passports,
  • emergency travel documents, as well as
  • Canadian citizenship certificates and permanent resident travel documents.

“Canada is also working with UN partners in the area to provide temporary shelter for refugees in Canada’s resettlement process who have been seriously impacted while they wait for their applications to be processed. We will continue to closely monitor the needs of people in the region and will adapt our response as needed.”

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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