In August 2021, as we can remember, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, leading to a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that affected millions, and Canada took action. Since that, Canada has provided great support to the Afghan community. Today, the Honorable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, exposed that Canada has met its commitment to welcome around 40,000 vulnerable Afghans since this past event.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is dedicated to processing eligible applications submitted under the Afghan special measures on a priority basis, demonstrating flexibility in the face of ongoing challenges.
This achievement is the result of the amazing efforts of multiple partners, both in Canada and abroad. The collaboration of countries in the region, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration, and non-governmental organizations has played a crucial role.
As Afghan newcomers integrate into Canada, the nation has been given support from provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, as well as civil society. This includes Canadians who have stepped forward to sponsor Afghan refugees. Resettlement service providers have offered temporary accommodations and facilitated access to healthcare, education, language and skills training, and social services. The collective efforts of society have enabled Afghans to not only start anew in Canada but also to contribute to their communities and flourish.
Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said that the horrors faced by the Afghan people two years ago are ongoing, particularly for women and girls. While welcoming more than 40,000 Afghans to Canada is a significant achievement, Canada remains committed to ensuring the safety of Afghans.
Relevant information about the relationship between Canada and Afghanistan is that Canada’s Afghanistan resettlement commitment is one of the largest per capita in the world and second only to the United States in overall numbers.
This great achievement encompasses support for those who have assisted Canada, including:
18,000 spaces for the Special Immigration Measures Program for Afghan nationals and their families who closely supported the Government of Canada and up to 5,000 extended family members of Afghan interpreters who had previously arrived in Canada.
Also, we can mention a program for the extended family of former language and cultural advisors.
Canada was among the first nations to launch a special humanitarian resettlement program for Afghans, such as women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted ethnic or religious minorities, LGBTI+ individuals, and journalists. Additionally, Canadians have privately sponsored thousands of Afghans. Sponsorship agreement holders have also welcomed Afghan refugees in addition to their annual sponsorship commitments.
In June this year, the Government of Canada passed legislation to facilitate the safe passage of IRCC applicants out of Afghanistan to third countries, where immigration processing may be completed and travel to Canada arranged. These amendments enable collaboration with organizations operating in the region to support immigration processing in Afghanistan or in third countries.