Canada relaxes immigration rules for Yolanda victims
Joseph Lariosa (The Philippine Star) - December 1, 2013 - 12:00am

CHICAGO – Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has decided to “prioritize the processing of applications from people who self-identify as being significantly affected by the Typhoon Yolanda.”

This came following the call of Filipino-American immigration lawyer Arnedo Valera for US Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Rand Beers to extend Temporary Protected Status to Filipinos in America in the aftermath of Yolanda.

Valera’s proposal has been supported by more than 20 US lawmakers led by Sen. Dick Durbin.

In a post on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Alexander said “Canadians are deeply saddened by the devastating impact Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) has had on the Philippine people.”

“Applicants overseas who can demonstrate that they are significantly and personally affected by the typhoon and wish to declare their cases a priority can contact the visa office in Manila directly at manila-im-enquiry@international.gc.ca.

“Those in the affected areas will be treated as a priority.”

He also said that requests from Filipino citizens temporarily in Canada who wish to extend their stay will be assessed in a “compassionate and flexible manner.”

Applicants and their family members in Canada who wish to declare their cases as a priority can contact situation-philippines@cic.gc.ca or contact CIC’s Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100, which has a dedicated crisis line.

“For those who have applied online or who are applying online, and are significantly and personally affected by the typhoon, please send a follow up email to situation-philippines@cic.gc.ca, indicating you require urgent processing. Be sure to include as much information as possible: such as your name, date of birth, and client ID that can be found on any correspondence with CIC,” the post added.

Filipino-Canadian Sen. Tobias Enverga Jr. hailed Alexander’s decision. Enverga said he is also in favor of extending the arrangement to include siblings and close relatives in need.

ARNEDO VALERA CALL CENTRE CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CANADA CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION MINISTER CHRIS ALEXANDER DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY DICK DURBIN FILIPINO-CANADIAN SEN SECRETARY RAND BEERS TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS TOBIAS ENVERGA JR.
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