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Immigration measures to help people affected by the Israel–Hamas conflict

December 21, 2023—Ottawa—Canada remains deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Since Hamas’s terrorist attack in early October, Canada has been actively working to support the assisted departure of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their eligible family members from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

As part of these continuing efforts, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced temporary immigration measures to support family members of Canadians and permanent residents from the region, as well as Israelis and Palestinians already in Canada.

Fee-exempt study or open work permits in Canada

Beginning today, the following people can apply for a fee-exempt study or open work permit:

  • Foreign national family members of Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) who have left Israel and the Palestinian Territories, either with their family members or of their own accord, since the onset of the current conflict.
  • Israelis and Palestinians already in Canada who feel unsafe returning to the region at this time

For those with loved ones living in Gaza

We understand many Canadians are concerned about the safety of their loved ones in Gaza. That is why we are introducing special measures to support temporary residence for extended family members in Gaza who are related to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. We will also prioritize the processing of all existing and new permanent residence applications for Palestinians within family-based streams.

The situation in Gaza is volatile and unpredictable. Israel has expanded ground operations in the Gaza Strip, and air strikes continue. Movement out of Gaza remains extremely challenging, and may not be possible as countries set their own entry and exit requirements. If individuals are able to exit Gaza, they will need to complete all admissibility and eligibility requirements before they can be approved to come to Canada. Canada continues to work with partners in the region to facilitate the exit of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible family members.


More details about these special measures for extended family members of Canadians, including how to apply, will be made available soon. IRCC has a dedicated service channel for enquiries on these special measures available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. Clients can add the keyword “MOME2023” to the IRCC crisis web form with their enquiry and it will be prioritized.

For now, we encourage Canadians and permanent residents who may have eligible family members to start preparing documents, including proof of relationship.

Link:, dated December 21, 2023 8:36 pm

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