Are the interview questions under the new temporary resident (TR) program for Palestinians fair?

Recently, the screening questions asked of those from the Gaza Strip applying for visas have drawn criticism to Canada’s immigration system. Human rights, discrimination, and the intricacy of immigration regulations have all been brought up in connection with this subject.

The Canadian government upholds humanitarian rights and provides assistance to persons in need in accordance with their top priorities, which may include food, temporary shelter, safe drinking water, urgent medical care, and hygienic facilities. More than any other country, Canada continues to be extremely worried about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. And hence introduced a temporary resident (TR) program for Palestinians in Gaza with family in Canada and on 9th January 2024. This is only eligible for the extended family members who have Canadian citizenship or Permanent Residency (PR).

The extra scrutiny Gazans who apply for visas to Canada experience is the subject of controversy. The program received criticism from attorneys who believe the questions go too far and those who believe the investigation should go even farther. 

There’s a lot of pressure especially when  people are being asked for information on their social media profiles, information about physical marks and scars, details about all of their relatives, including those they have married into, and a history of all of their passports.

In an interview Yameena Ansari said “It’s almost impossible to get these answers when you’re talking about people that are running away from their homes” . It is not in our imagination what the people in the war are going through and on top of it the program demands such insensitive questions. Moreover the questions have created anxiety for families who worry about their loved ones. Social media has taken a toll and predicted the questions as harsh. 

On the other hand the questions are asked to ensure if a person entering Canada is legitimate for the program.A  group of immigration lawyers is voicing concerns about security threats for those coming from the Hamas-controlled area, the government claims to have devised a “multi-stage security screening” for Palestinians from Gaza applying to a temporary visa program as a response to the letter from Lawyers for Secure Immigration – a recently formed group.

“Only Government of Canada officials make decisions regarding admissibility to Canada, and will decide whether or not a temporary resident visa will be issued. Other governments are not involved with this program,” – stated by the department under Matthew Krupovich.

Immigration laws must find a balance between upholding individual rights and advancing justice, even as they are vital for protecting national security and interests. The screening questions posed to Gazans applying for a Canada visa have sparked a cross-border discussion about human rights, prejudice, and diplomacy. It is unclear if Canada would review its strategy to guarantee a more inclusive and equitable immigration system as the talks go on.

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