Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced measures in response to the earthquake that occurred in Morocco on September 8.
IRCC says it has been processing temporary and permanent residence applications received on or before September 8, 2023, from people affected by the earthquake on a priority basis. This includes visitor visa applications for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, as well as existing applications for refugee resettlement.
Additionally, as of October 19, 2023, Moroccan nationals in Canada can apply for an extension of their temporary status, free of charge so they may continue to study, work or visit family.
These measures are for Moroccan nations who were in Canada as of September 8, when the earthquake occurred. IRCC says this will make it easier for Moroccan nationals to extend their temporary status in Canada or move between temporary streams.
These measures are similar to those surrounding the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria in February 2023. Further humanitarian initiatives for those impacted by the earthquake have not yet been announced.
Passport requirement waived for PR visa
IRCC will also waive the requirement to hold a passport or travel document to be approved for a permanent resident visa to come to Canada for Moroccans who have lost their documents due to the earthquake.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents from Morocco who return to Canada will also benefit as IRCC is waiving fees for temporary passports, limited-validity passports and emergency travel documents, as well as Canadian citizenship certificates and permanent resident travel documents.
These measures will be in effect from October 19, 2023 to March 12, 2024. IRCC will release more details in the coming days.
IRCC says it’s measures are part of Canada’s response to the situation in Morocco. Other government initiatives have also taken place. For example, When the earthquake occurred in September, Canada’s government announced it would work with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent to raise funds to support humanitarian needs in the region. For 20 days, Canada’s government offered to match donations up to a total of $3 million
According to census 2021, 81,775 people in Canada reported Morocco as their place of birth and of them, 12,835 are considered recent immigrants. Most Moroccans chose to settle in Montreal, Canada’s largest French-speaking city.
Shortly after the earthquake, Quebec’s government pledged $1.5 million toward relief efforts in Morocco.