Afghan translators still waiting for Canadian immigration help

Over a year ago the government of Canada promised to fast-track immigration paperwork for translators who worked in Afghanistan but only 50 have been approved so far, and they still await medical and security screenings.

Over 200 people have applied but Canadian immigration officials say that they only expect about 50 more translators to qualify by the time the program ends next summer.

The requirements for the program are a recommendation from a high-ranking Canadian soldier or diplomat, as well as 12 months of supporting Canada’s mission in Afghanistan while proving they’ve faced extreme dangers related to their work with Canadians.

Melanie Carkner, a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, told the Toronto Sun this week that, “as a result of our reviews, close to 50 applicants are now moving forward in the immigration process. Should they all pass security, criminality and health screening, they will be accompanied to Canada by some 75 eligible family members, wives and all dependent children,” she said, “Canada still expects that approximately 50 principal applicants plus an average of two family members totaling 100 people will be eligible each year.”

The Afghan translators assist Canadian soldiers in communicating with locals in war-torn Afghanistan, an extremely important service that puts their lives at risk. Canada should be keeping their word with the translators, and NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow says she will be bringing up the issue later this month when the House of Commons resumes.

“Judging from the statistics so far, it’s not fast-track. In fact, there’s no track whatsoever for the majority of the Afghan interpreters, leaving them no hope and in dangerous situations,” she said.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: afghan translator canada afghan translator visa Afghan translators afghanistan interpreters immigration to lithuanian canada taking afghan translator canada translator visa canadian immigration afghanistan immigration lawyer afghanistan immigration to canada from afghanistan Melanie Carkner NDP immigration Olivia Chow

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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