Canada has thanked Kenya for its help with its pledge to help Sudanese nationals apply to extend their stays.
“Canada values its close ties to Kenya and recognizes the tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits that Kenyans bring when they choose to immigrate to Canada,” noted the Canadian immigration minister and Dr. Alfred Mutua, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, in a joint statement.
During their meeting, the Canadian immigration minister thanked the Kenyan cabinet secretary for his country’s support of the Canadian response to the conflict in Sudan.
In mid-April this year, the Rapid Support Forces attacked Sudanese government sites with airstrikes, gunshots and artillery being reported across Sudan, including Khartoum, the capital city.
Even before that latest conflict, though, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was already reporting there were 142,190 Sudanese refugees within its borders as of June 22 last year.
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Canada is offering a safe haven for Sudanese nationals already in the country.
Ottawa began to help Sudanese nationals in Canada about two weeks ago by waiving fees so they can extend their stays or change their statuses as visitors, students or temporary workers free of charge.
“Canada continues to call for an end to violence in Sudan and stands with the Sudanese people as they strive for peace,” said Fraser.
“Many Sudanese nationals currently in Canada can’t return home due to the dangerous and volatile situation in their home country. That’s why we’re taking steps to help them extend their stay here, so they can remain with their families, continue with their studies or find work in safety.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is offering free open work permits that provide access to the labour market and greater flexibility for Sudanese nationals to support themselves while they are in Canada.
IRCC officials explained some permanent residence applicants outside Canada might not have access to their Sudanese travel documents.
“We are therefore waiving the requirement to hold a passport or travel document to be approved for a permanent resident visa to come to Canada,” noted the IRCC in a statement.
“These measures complement the fee waivers for passports and travel documents for Canadians and permanent residents of Canada in Sudan, and the prioritization of completed applications already in our system for temporary and permanent residence from people in Sudan for when it is safe to travel.”
CBSA Puts Halt On Deporting Sudanese Nationals
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has also issued a temporary halt on removals to Sudan. This measure is being taken in recognition of the increasing violence, armed conflict, civil unrest and the volatile security situation.
“Canada has a proud and longstanding tradition of providing protection to vulnerable people around the world and we are deeply concerned for the well-being of people in Sudan, including Canadians and their family members,” said Fraser.
“We are monitoring the situation closely, and are working to provide support for those seeking safety in Canada.”
In the Sudan, the Canadian immigration department will deploy additional officers to help those already on the ground support immigration-related operations.
During Fraser and Mutua’s meeting, the two also discussed the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) which now helps skilled refugees immigrate and continue their professional careers in Canada.
“Canada is proud to be a top destination for global talent and an increasingly popular destination for Kenyan nationals, including international students and workers in the agriculture industry,” the two noted in a statement.
The Canadian immigration minister also used the opportunity to discuss the country’s existing temporary and permanent pathways which foreign nationals may use to apply to live, work, visit and study in Canada, including the Express Entry system and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).