Canada is doubling down on bringing in Afghan refugees by aiming to bring in 40,000 by the end of the next year after surpassing its original goal of resettling 20,000.
Many Afghans, particularly those who worked closely with Canadian military personnel in Afghanistan, came under the threat of reprisals by the Taliban when it took over that Central Asian country.
“Canada has now welcomed over 20,350 Afghan refugees, with more arriving every week,” tweeted Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on Wednesday.
“This afternoon, another charter flight with 300 privately-sponsored refugees landed in Toronto from Tajikistan.”
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Canada is working with the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan as well as international organizations including the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Refugee Agency, Frontline Defenders and ProtectDefendersEUu to bring in Afghani refugees.
Maryam Masoomi, one of the refugees who arrived in Saskatoon in the Prairie province of Saskatchewan in October last year is making a new life for herself.
Since she arrived in Canada, she has won an award for her leadership skills, met with King Charles III, begin hosting a local radio show and is working with newcomer youth.
Ghousuddin Frotan, an Afghan journalist, is another who has made a home for himself and his family in Windsor since arriving in Canada earlier this year, winning a fellowship from the University of Toronto.
“These newcomers will enrich the communities that have embraced them,” said Fraser.
“The situation in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries remains very challenging, and we truly appreciate all that our partners at home and abroad have done to bring Afghan refugees to safety in Canada.”
Ottawa Helps Out Afghan Refugees With Income Support For A Full Year
Upon their arrival in Canada, the Afghan refugees get a minimum of 12 months of income support under the Resettlement Assistance Program. They also have access to settlement services, including language training and the Interim Federal Health Program for medical coverage.
“The safe and dignified resettlement of refugees globally has been a central part of the work of the International Organization for Migration for decades,” said António Vitorino, director general of the International Organization for Migration.
“We continue to work closely with the government of Canada and others to ensure thousands of vulnerable Afghans are provided the opportunity to restart their lives in a secure and welcoming environment.”
The program through which Canada is resettling these Afghans offers them the opportunity to live in one of 137 communities across the country.
The humanitarian program is targeting vulnerable Afghans, defined by the Canadian government as including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted religious or ethnic minorities, member of the LGBTQ community, journalists and those who supported Canadian journalists.
In the past few months, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have sped up the rate at which these Afghan refugees are coming to Canada.
During the first 10 months, starting in August last year, Canada welcomed 15,000 new permanent residents through the Afghan resettlement program or a rate of 1,500 per month.
In the last three months, Canada has provided refugees to an additional 5,350 people, a rate of 1,783 per month, or an increase of 18.9 per cent in the arrival rate of Afghan refugees to the country.