Afghan crisis: New immigration route to Canada

TORONTO – The federal government has announced a “new route” for extended family members of Afghan interpreters to arrive in Canada and join them.

Under the new program, extended family members of Afghan interpreters will be eligible for immigration to Canada if they:

  • is an Afghan citizen;

  • resides outside Canada at the time of application;

  • was in Afghanistan on July 22 or later;

  • is a child, grandchild, parent, grandparent or sibling of a person who has already been granted permanent residence in Canada under the previous immigration platforms;

  • can make a “statutory declaration” from their family member who is already in Canada;

  • can provide identification; and,

  • completed the online registration forms.

If the family member is unable to present travel or identity documents, the Afghan who is already in Canada can vouch for them via another statutory declaration.

Canada intends to bring in 40,000 Afghan refugees fleeing imminent danger from the Taliban, mainly because of their ties with Canadian soldiers during the Afghanistan war.

“While some of their extended family members may have come to Canada through existing programs over the years, others have not and may now be in an insecure position due to their relationship with the interpreters,” the government wrote in Wednesday’s statement.

The Canadian government has not given an update on how many refugees have already arrived in Canada, citing concerns about privacy. About 3,700 Afghans and Canadians were flown out by the end of August.

It is believed that as many as 1,700 interpreters and other Afghans with the proper documentation to leave are detained in safe houses while awaiting escape.

Last month, the federal government quietly changed the criteria for a secondary special program to bring vulnerable Afghans to account only for those outside Afghanistan at the time of application.

The application process for this new path opens on December 9, and applicants are encouraged to start preparing the right paperwork now.

More information is available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

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