Canada less than halfway to Afghan resettlement goal one year after Taliban takeover
August 22, 2022
By Vancouver Sun |
More than 17,300 Afghans have arrived in Canada since last August compared to 71,800 Ukrainians who have come to Canada in 2022 alone.
MPs and veteran-led aid groups are urging ministers to do more to help thousands of Afghans who assisted Canadian Forces but remain trapped in Afghanistan a year after the Taliban seized Kabul.
They warn that 8,000 Afghans approved to come to Canada have not yet been able to escape. Many do not have a passport or visa and applying to the Taliban for documents could put them in danger.
Another 3,000 Afghans who helped Canada’s Armed Forces and government have not been approved to come to Canada, according to Aman Lara, a veteran-led non-governmental organization working to help interpreters and other Canadian government employees on the ground.
Brian Macdonald, Aman Lara’s executive director, urged Canada to extend the special immigration program, set up to settle 18,000 former local employees of the Canadian Armed Forces or government, which is being effectively wound down after reaching capacity.
“There are 8,000 people in Afghanistan who have been approved to come to Canada under the special immigration program who can’t get out,” he said.
“We are asking the government of Canada to keep the special immigration program open and unlimited in numbers until everybody who helped Canada gets out.”
A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in June the department has received over 15,000 applications for the program, as well as referrals for the remaining 3,000 spaces.