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Ottawa to allow temporary Syrian, Turkish residents to stay longer after earthquake

Last Updated Mar 18, 2023 at 12:14 pm MDT

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser speaks during a news conference with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, Wednesday, April 6, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

TORONTO — The federal government says it will make it easier for temporary residents in Canada from Turkey and Syria to extend their stay in the country after a powerful earthquake struck their countries last month.

More than 50,000 people have been killed and millions displaced after the 7.8-magnitude quake and several powerful aftershocks hit the region on Feb. 6.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says the government will allow people from Turkey and Syria who have a temporary status to visit family, study or work in Canada to apply for an extension to their status and will wave the application fees for them.

Fraser says his department has been prioritizing processing temporary and permanent resident applications from people affected by the earthquake.

The government says, as of March 10, about 600 Syrian and 6,400 Turkish residents in Canada had temporary status that is set to expire within the next six months.

Last month, the federal government said it is to send another $20 million in aid for people affected by the earthquake and is to match $10 million more in private donations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press