Canada activates emergency special immigration program
Canada will increase the number of refugees it is bringing from Afghanistan, as the Taliban overrun Kabul, the capital, and get set to take control of the entire country and announce the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
In a Shakespearean reversal of events, Canada is now opening its doors to Afghan natives, 13 years after sending 40,000 troops to the region as part of the NATO mission.
Canada had earlier pledged to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans threatened by the Taliban and forced to flee Afghanistan. But with the latest conquest by the Taliban, this number is likely to be dramatically increased.
The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that the Government of Canada continues to be deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the risks it poses for many vulnerable Afghans.
Canada will continue to implement the special immigration program for Afghans who contributed to Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan. In addition, the Federal Government will introduce a special program to focus on particularly vulnerable groups including women leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, persecuted religious minorities, LGBTI individuals, and family members of previously resettled interpreters.
By welcoming these Afghan refugees, Canada will help ease the burden that Afghanistan’s neighbours are shouldering and offer these individuals a permanent home here. While applicants must meet all the usual admissibility requirements, processing timelines will be expedited.
As with previous large-scale resettlement efforts, the Government is calling on Canadians to lend a helping hand. Over the past few weeks, there has been an outpouring of goodwill from Canadians across the country, who are eager to open their homes and their hearts.
The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino said “offering refuge to the world’s most vulnerable speaks to who we are as Canadians, particularly in times of crisis. The situation in Afghanistan is heartbreaking, and Canada will not stand idly by.”
What else is happening in Afghanistan?
- Afghanistan’s embattled President Ashraf Ghani has already fled the country as the Taliban ran over Kabul. He fled to Tajikistan.
- The Taliban said it would soon announce the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace.
- US Embassy instructed to destroy all sensitive documents immediately
- All US personnel to be evacuated from the country in 48-72 hours. U.S. diplomats have already been evacuated by chopper
- Commercial flights no longer flying in and out of Kabul
- The Emirates Boeing 777-300 was diverted back to Dubai after the flight circled over the Afghanistan capital.
- Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said to prevent looting and chaos in Kabul, their forces will enter some parts of the city and occupy outposts that have been evacuated by security forces.
With the expected influx of Afghan refugees, the immigrant population in Canada is likely to far exceed the annual 300,000 projection.