Canada has announced a five-fold increase in visas for Palestinians seeking to join their family members in the North American country.

Minister of Immigration, Marc Miller said that Ottawa would raise to 5,000 the number of visas offered to residents in Gaza under a special programme announced in December last year.

Miller said Canada is working to assist Palestinians trying to leave Gaza, but that movement out of the territory is currently not possible due to factors Canada cannot control.

The program initially allotted 1,000 temporary visas, but due to the high demand, this number was increased to 5,000. As it stands, 448 Gazans have been issued a TRV, but only 41 have arrived in Canada so far. 


Miller expressed concern for the current state of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza but remained optimistic about the Canadian government’s continued efforts, stating: 

“While movement out of Gaza is not currently possible, the situation may change at any time. With this cap increase, we will be ready to help more people as the situation evolves. Our focus remains on keeping families together.”

Miller said that both Israel and Egypt will play important roles in implementing these measures and helping to reunite families in Canada.

Miller continued:

"Canada continues to put forward the names of those who have passed preliminary screening to local authorities to secure their exit from Gaza. Israel and Egypt are both important partners in implementing these temporary, humanitarian measures and helping people reunite with their family in Canada. Canada is working—at every level—to facilitate the exit of extended family members and advocate for their safety. We will continue to advocate for people’s safety.