CIC announces special immigration measures for Afghan staff in Kandahar seeking to immigrate to Canada
Immediately before Prime Minister Harper’s oval office meeting with President Barack Obama on September 16th, 2009, in which Afghanistan was a topic of primary concern, the Government of Canada announced a new program to allow Afghan staff in Kandahar to immigrate to Canada.
Effective October 2009, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will implement special measures to allow certain local staff who face exceptional risk or who have suffered serious injury as a result of their work for the Canadian government in Kandahar province, Afghanistan to become permanent residents of Canada. In a media release on September 15, 2009, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism states:
“There are Afghans who face extraordinary personal risk as a result of their work in support of Canada’s mission in Kandahar […] We commend their bravery to help build a better Afghanistan while recognizing the price that they have paid. Their lives and those of their families may be threatened by insurgents, and some have suffered serious injury and can no longer work. To recognize their contribution, we will offer them special consideration if they wish to relocate to Canada.”
In order to qualify for these special measures, applicants will need to show that they currently face individualized and extraordinary risk or have suffered serious injury as a result of their work with the Canadian government. In addition, the applicant must have worked at least 12 cumulative months in Kandahar in support of the Canadian mission. Also eligible are spouses of Afghan nationals killed because of their work with the Canadian government and accompanying dependent children.
All applicants will have to meet standard immigration requirements, including criminal, medical and security screening. Once approved, however, they will receive health-care coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program as well as resettlement services similar to what is currently offered to government-assisted refugees, including up to 12 months of income support upon arrival in Canada. Applicants may apply under this program until the end of the Canadian combat mission in Kandahar in 2011.