Government of Canada Creates Special Immigration Measures to Recognize Contribution of Afghan Staff in Kandahar
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 15, 2009) - The Government of Canada will offer special measures to facilitate immigration to Canada for 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.
"There are Afghans who face extraordinary personal risk as a result of their work in support of Canada's mission in Kandahar," said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. "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."
The government plans to implement these measures in October 2009. In general, applicants must demonstrate that they 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.
Spouses of Afghan nationals killed because of their work with the Canadian government will be eligible. All will have to meet standard immigration requirements, including criminal, medical and security screening. The accompanying dependent children of those who qualify would also be eligible.
Canada's approach is consistent with the objectives of similar programs offered by the United States in Afghanistan and the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark in Iraq.
Successful applicants 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.