Canada welcomes first Afghan refugees resettled through the special immigration program

Ottawa – The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement:

“Today, the Government of Canada is welcoming the first of a number of flights carrying Afghan refugees who provided crucial support to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. This first group is now beginning their new life in Canada, and we welcome them with open arms. More flights will be arriving in the coming days and weeks. We committed to do right by the Afghans who supported Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. With the arrival of the first resettled Afghan refugees in Canada, we are making good on that promise.

The Government has been seized with the urgency on the ground and is working as quickly as possible to resettle Afghan nationals who put themselves at great risk to support Canada’s work in Afghanistan. We have been working around the clock to identify individuals eligible to come to Canada under this special immigration program. This work is well underway, and a team has been on the ground in Afghanistan, including support staff who are assisting clients in submitting their applications and requested documentation. We are doing everything we can to get every Afghan refugee out as swiftly and safely as possible, but we recognize that the security situation can change rapidly.

All those arriving under this special immigration program have met Canada’s requirements concerning eligibility, admissibility and security screenings. The Afghan refugees were tested for COVID-19 on arrival and will follow all quarantine and testing requirements to protect the health and safety of those in Canada.

These refugees are coming to Canada as government-assisted refugees. To help the Afghans adjust to life in Canada, service provider organizations in communities across Canada are preparing to welcome them. Settlement organizations will help them to find permanent housing, language training, a job and connections with established immigrants and Canadians and provide them with the information that they need about life in Canada, and the community in which they will settle. All of these services will help Afghans settle into their new home.

To protect the safety of those being evacuated and the security of this operation, further operational details will not be released, including information on where Afghans will be resettled in Canada.

We would like to thank those working at Global Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency who have been working tirelessly to facilitate this process. We would also like to thank all of the advocacy groups across the country who have worked so hard to make this possible.”

 

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