MARCO E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Friday announced that Canada will resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans threatened by the Taliban and forced to flee Afghanistan.
Canada will continue to implement the special immigration program for Afghans who contributed to Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan. In addition, Canada will introduce a special program to focus on particularly vulnerable groups that are already welcomed to Canada through existing resettlement streams, including women leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, persecuted religious minorities, LGBTI individuals, and family members of previously resettled interpreters. The program will welcome government-supported and privately sponsored refugees, along with those sponsored by family already in Canada.
The government said that by welcoming these Afghans, Canada will help ease the burden that Afghanistan’s neighbours are shouldering and offer these individuals a permanent home here. Canada will be engaging with its international and domestic partners, private sponsors and settlement organizations to begin implementing the new program. While applicants must meet all the usual admissibility requirements, processing timelines will be expedited.
The government said: “As with previous large-scale resettlement efforts, we welcome the support of the many Canadians who want to lend a hand. For example, we’re expanding our partnership with the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation to resettle hundreds of persecuted Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an outpouring of goodwill from Canadians across the country, who are eager to open their homes and their hearts. This enthusiastic support will continue to guide our efforts as we welcome more Afghan refugees to safety in Canada.’