Special program for vulnerable Afghans
The government announced on August 13 an expanded resettlement program, intended to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees. See web page (which is being updated).
This program includes:
- A previously announced and active program for Afghans who worked for the Canadian government (“Special program for Afghans who assisted Canada”). These people can be inside or outside Afghanistan.
- A promise of a program for Afghans outside Afghanistan to be resettled (see below).
The details are not yet finalized but it is expected that the program will be implemented quite soon. The government is seeking input from organizations, including the CCR. The plan is to have more flexibility than with normal resettlement programs (for example, flexibility on definitions and inclusion of extended families).
The program will resettle 8,000 Government Assisted Refugees (these are new places, additional to what was already in the immigration levels), as well as Privately Sponsored Refugees.
The special program covers also family reunification applications (either Family Class sponsorships or family members of accepted refugees included on their permanent residence application – the latter category was eliminated in the 19 August update of the web page, but apparently that is an error).
IRCC says they will “prioritize the processing” of the family reunification applications.
CCR has been advocating for the government to issue Temporary Residence Permits to family members of accepted refugees and to evacuate them. A group of Afghans in this situation has formed to do advocacy and give mutual support. (Email email@example.com).
The IRB is taking measures to expedite all Afghan files. This includes reviewing refugee claims to see if they can be accepted on paper or referred to a short hearing. See IRB Afghan measures.
Evacuation from Kabul
The government is trying to move as many people as possible, but there is limited capacity. The priorities are Canadian citizens and permanent residents and Afghans who assisted the Government of Canada.
Canadian Council for Refugees, Updated 20 August 2021
Special program for Afghans – Summary of CCR recommendations
In response to the crisis in Afghanistan and the government’s August 13 announcement of an expanded resettlement program for Afghans, the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR( has been making the following recommendations to the government.
1. Family members of Protected Persons (accepted refugees) in Canada
- CCR is asking that the government issue Temporary Residence Permits to family members of accepted refugees and include them among the priorities for evacuation out of Kabul.
2. Afghan resettlement should be additional to existing spaces
- The commitment to 20,000 places is good, but the numbers should be additional to places already committed in the immigration levels. The government should not count applications of Afghans who were already in process.
- This commitment should not result in delays for applicants of other nationalities.
3. Facilitating private sponsorship
- The requirement for a Refugee Status Determination document (for Group of Five and Community Sponsors) should be waived (since most Afghan refugees will likely be unable to obtain it).
- Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH) need additional allocation spaces to allow them to sponsor Afghans.
- The government should alleviate the burdens of the pending Program Integrity Framework (PIF) which will compromise SAH capacity. Many SAHs may hesitate to take on new commitments due to concerns about what PIF will mean.
- The door needs to be opened to private sponsorship in Quebec (currently no new private sponsorship applications can be submitted in Quebec).
4. Family reunification
Canadian Council for Refugees, Updated 23 August 2021
1. Who qualifies for this support?
Afghan citizens outside of Canada who are immediate family members (spouse, dependent child or grandchild) of Canadian citizens, permanent residents, protected persons applying for permanent residence, or resettled Afghan refugees.
2. What type of applications can receive support?
Permanent residence applications being processed or future permanent residence applications and Temporary Residence (TRV) applications being processed or will be submitted.
3. How to request priority processing for PR applications?
a. Existing Applications:
- By Paper: If you already have an application number (through application acknowledgement letter) please email via the dedicated inbox (IRCC.SituationAfghanistan.IRCC@cic.gc.ca) with the subject “Afghan Special Measures 2021”. Please see emailing instructions below.
b. New Applications:
- By Paper: Applicants submitting a family class paper-based application must label the envelope with “Urgent – Afghanistan priority” to ensure officers process their application on a priority basis.
- Online Applications: Although IRCC staff is instructed to flag online applications received from Afghani clients. Applicants can also submit priority processing via the dedicated inbox (IRCC.SituationAfghanistan.IRCC@cic.gc.ca) with the subject “Afghan Special Measures 2021”. Please see emailing instructions below.
4. Email Instructions for Priority Email to make sure the application is flagged as a priority
The email should include
- their name and date of birth, UCI Number, Application number
- the email address used for the Permanent Residence Portal submission or Generic Form
- the documentation for Afghan citizens wishing to come to Canada should prove their residence, their relationship with family members, their family members’ Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent resident status
Please be advised that admissibility issues are still in effect. The only exception is that medical examinations can be conducted upon arrival in Canada if it they are not possible to complete abroad.
You can find the official guide here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/service-delivery/afghanistan.html#s4
FCJ Refugee Centre, Updated 25 August 2021