MPs on the House of Commons Immigration Committee were angered at the news only a quarter of Afghan nationals who pleaded to enter Canada were admitted by the Department of Immigration, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
“There are still many, many thousands of Afghans who are stuck there,” said Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan (Calgary Forest Lawn), who added Afghan helpers faced brutal consequences under the Taliban.
Cabinet in an Inquiry Of Ministry tabled in the House of Commons said since the collapse of Kabul last August 15, the immigration department received some 9,400 applications from Afghan nationals who assisted the Canadian Armed Forces.
Of those, 6,184 were approved to settle in Canada as government-sponsored refugees. A total 2,385 arrived in Canada to date.
“That is not very acceptable,” Hallan said. “We know the Taliban has ramped up their brutal regime. They are not letting women and young girls go to school anymore.”
The Inquiry Of Ministry said staff had “no specific data available on the number of cases prioritized” for Afghans in danger of retaliation. “Applications are processed as quickly as possible on a first-in, first-out basis,” it said.
Staff said the “key challenge” is that most clients are in Afghanistan where Canada does not currently have a presence.
The immigration department estimated more than a million Afghans asked to settle in Canada. Last August 13, cabinet said it would allow 20,000, but later raised the quota to 40,000.
“The government stated it wanted to bring in 40,000 Afghans,” Conservative MP Brad Redekopp (Saskatoon West) told the immigration committee. “So far it’s about 8,500. That is eight months. It’s about a little over a thousand a month.”
Canada let an unprecedented 405,000 immigrants from all nations into the country last year, eclipsing the previous record of 400,870 in 1913.
The immigration department suspended the processing of entry permits in Kabul last August 15 after the closure of the Canadian embassy. Last August 31, then-Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Afghan War veterans who aided Canadian forces “should be permitted safe passage so they can resettle to Canada.”
“We are going to continue to exhaust every effort until we get this work done,” Mendicino told reporters at the time. However, he did not elaborate.
Matthew Horwood is the Parliamentary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard
Matthew Horwood is the Parliamentary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Parliamentary Bureau. He has a degree in journalism from Carleton University and has been a reporter for the Hill Times and the Ottawa Business Journal.
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