Canadian immigration fast-track 25 Afghan translators who faced extraordinary personal risk
A special programme to fast-track immigration applications for Afghan translators who faced extraordinary person risk in order to aid Canadas mission to Kandahar has finally seen the first approvals.
27 May 2010
A joint committee has approved 25 Afghan translators out of 114 applications, roughly 21 per cent, to emigrate to Canada. The committee is made up of officials from the departments of National Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Immigration and Citizenship, working in conjunction with the International Organization for Migration.
The Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the delay was due to the removal of International Organization for Migration staff in Kandahar for security reasons.
“The security situation has made it go slower than I would have liked but we're finally starting to process some of those positive applications and some of those people should be settling in Canada shortly,” he said.
Applicants under this programme required 12 months service to the Canadian mission and a recommendation letter from a senior soldier or diplomat, as well as the need to meet standard Canadian immigration criteria such as criminal, medical and security screening.
The interpreters are vital in the coalition's effort to communicate with most Afghans, but a dangerous job and many interpreters live and travel full time with Canadian soldiers.
The approved applicants are able to bring two family members with them to Canada. It is not yet clear when the 25 interpreters will arrive in the country.