Canada Announces Temporary Visas For People In Gaza With Canadian Relatives

(AP) — People in the Gaza Strip who have Canadian relatives may apply for temporary visas to Canada, the country’s immigration minister said today. However, the federal government cannot guarantee safe passage out of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller expects the program to be up and running by January 9. Until now, the government has focused on getting 660 Canadians, permanent residents and their spouses and children out of Gaza.

Miller said the government will start accepting applications for people with extended family connections to Canada, including parents, grandparents, siblings and grandchildren.

He said people will be offered three-year visas if they meet eligibility and admissibility criteria.

Miller said he’s not sure how many people will be able to come to Canada under the program, but he expects the number will be in the hundreds.

Miller said it’s been difficult to get Canadians out of Gaza. “We have limited ability,” he said.