July 28, 2021
Government of Canada Offers Path to Protection for Afghans Who Assisted Canada
On July 23, 2021 the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, announced a special program to resettle the Afghans who were fundamental to Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan.
Over the past decade, Canada has resettled over 800 workers; however, many remain in Afghanistan where they are targets of the Taliban. In recognition of their service to Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is implementing the launch of a new resettlement program that will offer a path to protection in Canada for those at risk due to their work.
Those eligible include interpreters who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces, cooks, drivers, cleaners, construction workers, security guards and locally engaged staff employed at the Embassy of Canada to Afghanistan, and their family members. Criteria to be referred for resettlement are based on applicants’ “significant or enduring relationship with the Government of Canada”. Moreover, applicants must meet all usual admissibility requirements, including security, criminal and health screenings and are subject to existing COVID-19 public health measures and safety protocols.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Department of National Defence (DND) have already started working to identify and assist eligible individuals for resettlement and operational teams from IRCC, GAC and DND are currently situated in Afghanistan to carry out these efforts. IRCC will immediately begin processing individuals referred to them by GAC and DND, whereby processing timelines will be expedited.
Citing privacy and safety concerns, IRCC will not disclose the identity of those who will be resettled, how they will be evacuated or when.