The Government of Canada has a longstanding and proud tradition of welcoming the world’s most vulnerable people.
In August 2021, when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, leading to a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that affected, and continues to affect, millions of people, Canada took action. In the two years since, Canada has provided critical support to the Afghan people. This ongoing support is driven by our deep connection to Afghanistan, including with those who served alongside us for over two decades, our desire to serve the Afghan people, and their growing diaspora that has helped to strengthen Canada.
Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, shared that Canada has met its commitment to welcome at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans since August 2021. Ours is one of the largest Afghan resettlement programs in the world, and our work continues.
The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to help vulnerable Afghans. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will show flexibility and continue to process eligible applications submitted under the Afghan special measures on a priority basis.
Reaching this important milestone was made possible by the tireless efforts of multiple partners in Canada and abroad, including countries in the region, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration, and non-governmental organizations.
As Afghan newcomers continue to settle across Canada, we have also seen tremendous support from provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and civil society. This includes Canadians who have stepped up to sponsor Afghan refugees, as well as resettlement service providers who have provided temporary accommodations, coordinated access to critical healthcare, education, language and skills training, and social services. Successful resettlement involves the efforts of society as a whole, and the many partners in more than 180 communities across Canada have helped Afghans not only start their lives in Canada, but contribute to their communities and thrive.
“The horrors faced in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban are ongoing, and the impacts to the rights and freedoms of the Afghan people, specifically women and girls, knows no bounds. While welcoming over 40,000 Afghans to Canada is a significant achievement, Canada will continue to bring Afghans to safety. Canadians, resettlement organizations and their front-line staff have gone above and beyond to welcome Afghans, and we are thankful for their ongoing support.”
– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“Canada has become a global role model for effectively bringing vulnerable Afghans and other refugees to safety. We at IOM are deeply honored to work with the Canadian government and value its dedication to fulfilling its commitment to ensure that these refugees have every chance to thrive in their new Canadian communities. Throughout IOM’s 72-year history, supporting the safe and dignified resettlement of refugees has remained at the heart of our global mission. The work we have done with Canada is a prime example of how effective that work can be, not just for the governments and IOM, but for the people we help and the communities they now call home.”
– Amy Pope, Director General, International Organization for Migration
· Canada’s Afghanistan resettlement commitment is one of the largest, per capita in the world, and is second only to that of the United States in overall numbers.
· This commitment includes a specific focus on those who helped Canada, including:
o 18,000 spaces for the Special Immigration Measures Program for Afghan nationals and their families who closely helped the Government of Canada
o up to 5,000 extended family members of former Afghan interpreters who came to Canada under earlier programs
o a program for the extended family of former language and cultural advisors
· Canada was among the first countries to launch a special humanitarian resettlement program for vulnerable Afghans (including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted ethnic or religious minorities, LGBTI+ individuals, and journalists). Canadians also stepped forward to privately sponsor thousands of Afghans. Sponsorship agreement holders also welcomed Afghan refugees in addition to the refugees they annually sponsor.
· In June 2023, the Government of Canada passed legislation that will help remove a key barrier to support the safe passage of IRCC applicants out of Afghanistan to third countries where immigration processing may be completed and travel to Canada arranged. These amendments will help us work with organizations who operate in the region to support immigration processing in Afghanistan or in third countries.