Ottawa, August 13, 2021—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’s special immigration program has already brought many Afghans to Canada—and our teams there, here and across the world are working around the clock to bring as many people as possible to safety.
As the Taliban continues to take over more of Afghanistan, Afghans’ lives are under threat—and many have already fled the country. To help address the growing humanitarian crisis, 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, today 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, we 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.
By welcoming these Afghans, Canada will help ease the burden that Afghanistan’s neighbours are shouldering and offer these individuals a permanent home here. We will be engaging with our 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.
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.