Canada Has Reached Target Of Welcoming 40,000 Afghan Refugees

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Immigration Minister Marc Miller says Canada will continue to offer its help to Afghans after Canada reached its target of welcoming 40,000 fleeing the Taliban and immigrating here as refugees.

“The horrors faced in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban are ongoing and the impacts to the rights and freedoms of the Afghan people, specifically women and girls, knows no bounds,” said Miller.

“While welcoming over 40,000 Afghans to Canada is a significant achievement, Canada will continue to bring Afghans to safety. Canadians, resettlement organizations and their front-line staff have gone above and beyond to welcome Afghans and we are thankful for their ongoing support.”

Canada’s Afghanistan resettlement commitment is one of the largest on a per capita basis in the world and is second only to that of the United States in overall numbers.

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This commitment included a specific focus on those who helped Canada, including:

  • 18,000 spaces under the Special Immigration Measures Program for Afghan nationals and their families who closely helped the Canadian government;
  • up to 5,000 extended family members of former Afghan interpreters who came to Canada under earlier programs, and;
  • a program for the extended family of former language and cultural advisors.

“Canada has become a global role model for effectively bringing vulnerable Afghans and other refugees to safety,” said Amy Pope, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) director general.

The 72-year-old organization supports the safe and dignified settlement of refugees and worked closely with the Canadian government to resettle these refugees.

“The work we have done with Canada is a prime example of how effective that work can be, not just for the governments and IOM, but for the people we help and the communities they now call home,” said Pope.

Afghans arriving through the humanitarian program include both government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees, notes Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

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Under Canada’s humanitarian resettlement program, those deemed to be the most vulnerable among Afghans, including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted and religious minorities, 2SLGBTQI+ individuals and journalists, were given priority.

“Although the Afghanistan resettlement effort is one of the largest and most difficult in Canada’s history, we remain committed to maximizing every opportunity to support these vulnerable Afghans in their transition to a better life in Canada,” said former Immigration Minister Sean Fraser when the program was rolled out.

Afghan Refugees Have Made Homes For Themselves In Communities Throughout Canada

The Afghan refugee resettlement program was given a boost earlier this year when the House of Commons passed legislation in June to remove a key barrier to support the safe passage of IRCC applicants out of Afghanistan to third countries where immigration processing can be completed and travel to Canada arranged.

Those amendments helped Canadian immigration officials work with organizations who operate in the region to support immigration processing in Afghanistan or in third countries.

The IRCC developed several special programs and measures to bring Afghans to Canada out of recognition for the help they provided during Canada’s combat role and, later, its peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan from 2001 through to 2021.

During those missions, 158 Canadian Armed Forces members died in the cause of peace and freedom in Afghanistan.

After the Taliban fundamentalist Islamic group finally seized control of the country in mid-August, 2021, many Afghans sought to escape out of fear of retribution for their help of Canada’s missions and support for western democratic freedoms.

The IRCC made it easier to sponsor Afghan refugees through the humanitarian program, allowing groups of five and community sponsors to sponsor Afghan refugees without having to submit a refugee status determination document if this document isn’t available.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.