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Saturday 8 January 2005

Canada's Immigration Department fast-tracking tsunami childre

Canada's Immigration Department is moving to get children orphaned or left homeless by last month's earthquake and tsunami in South Asia to this country. Immigration Minister Judy Sgro says the department's first priority will be children under the age of 18, who are have lost their family or their home but have family members in Canada. The announcement applies only to about 1,000 pending applications already in the system. Those left homeless by the tsunami who didn't have an application in the system won't qualify.

A special email address and toll-free telephone number has been set up for Canadians who have questions on the immigration measures at tsunami@cic.gc.ca and 1-800-457-5035. Canada is limiting the acceptance of immigrants to those who are in serious hardship from the disaster. Sgro said her department will consider each application case-by-case. She added that all applicants must still go through medical and security checks.

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