Canada is putting measures in place to help Sudanese nationals who want to extend their stays here rather than return home to their country which is descending into violence, says Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“Canada has a proud and longstanding tradition of providing protection to vulnerable people around the world and we are deeply concerned for the well-being of people in Sudan, including Canadians and their family members,” said Fraser.
“We are monitoring the situation closely, and are working to provide support for those seeking safety in Canada.”
Under the new measures soon to be introduced, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will allow Sudanese nationals in Canada to apply for extension of their status and move between temporary streams, allowing them to continue studying, working or visiting family free of charge.
These steps are being taken to ensure the continued safety of Sudanese nationals already in Canada, keep families together, and give them a safe place to stay.
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Although the details of the new IRCC measure have not yet been divulged it’s clear already that Canada will facilitate immigration applications for those still in Sudan so they can travel once it’s safe to do so.
Canadian immigration officials will also prioritize the processing of completed temporary and permanent residence applications already in the system from people still in that country.
“This includes visitor visa applications for eligible immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents so they can join their loved ones here,” notes IRCC.
Canada is also waiving passport and permanent resident travel document fees for citizens and permanent residents of Canada in Sudan who wish to leave.
In the region, the Canadian immigration department is preparing to deploy additional officers to help those already on the ground support immigration-related operations.
Fighting erupted in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city and other sites across that country, earlier this month as two rival military factions began their battle for control of the eastern African nation.
News reports peg the number of deaths so far at more than 420 people, including 264 civilians, and the number of wounded at more than 3,700.
Canada Shutting Down Embassy Operations In Sudan During Conflict
As the Sudanese army and a paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), wrestle for control of Sudan, thousands of foreigners, including diplomats and aid workers in the country, have been left stranded. The United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are reportedly closing their embassies.
It’s a step Canada is also taking. On Sunday, Apr. 23, Global Affairs Canada announced it was suspending all its operations in Sudan.
“After consulting with Canada’s ambassador to Sudan, the decision has been made to temporarily suspend our operations in Sudan,” noted Global Affair Canada in a statement.
“Canadian diplomats will temporarily work from a safe location outside of the country. They will continue working with the government of Sudan, neighbouring countries, as well as with like-minded governments and the international community to coordinate the response to this crisis and to support Canadians still in the country.”
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Global Affairs Canada has also put out a call for an immediate ceasefire and the start of mediation efforts supported by regional partners in Sudan.
“The Canadian embassy will resume operations in Khartoum as soon as the situation in Sudan allows us to guarantee proper service and the safety and security for our staff,” noted Global Affairs Canada.
“While operations are suspended in Khartoum, limited consular services continue to be provided. Officials in Ottawa are in regular contact with Canadians affected, providing them information and advice as the situation develops. Canadian officials in our missions in nearby countries also stand ready to help.
Canadians in need of emergency consular are being asked to contact Global Affairs Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre:
- by calling +1 613-996-8885
- by text message at +1 613-686-3658
- via WhatsApp at +1 613-909-8881
- via Telegram at Canada Emergency Abroad
- by e-mail at [email protected]