Not many of us know that for the Canadian troops to communicate with the locals in the battlefield of Afghanistan would not have been possible without the Afghan translators. It has been over a year since the Canadian government introduced the fast-track immigration program for the translators from Afghanistan. Only fifty of them have obtained a permit for immigrate to Canada and these people are still waiting in the queue for clearances pertaining to health and security. For this program, over two hundred Afghan nationals had applied by mid-summer.
As per the officials from the government, in Kandahar, another fifty from an approximate of three hundred Afghan translators are likely to be eligible. This is before the program closes next summer the military mission from Canada comes to an end.
Jason Kenney, the Canadian Immigration Minister has accepted that this program took a slow start citing the disturbances in Afghanistan as the reason behind this slow start. He said that he is still hopeful of welcoming the first batch of these translators in the future months. In an e-mail, Mr. Kenney said that the nation owes a huge debt to these translators who have taken risks to help the Canadian mission.
In order to eligible for immigration, these translators should have worked in this position for a year in direct support of the military missions in Kandahar. They should establish that they are under threat from the Taliban for their direct support to these missions. This risk has to be much higher than what is being faced by others who are not in such direct roles. These applicants must also be recommended for the fast-track immigration program by a senior Canadian soldier who is senior in post or a diplomat that these translators are working with.
According to Melanie Carkner, a spokeswoman with Citizenship and Immigration Canadas, based on the reviews, about fifty applicants would be moving about with their immigration process. If all these Afghans pass the security, health and criminality clearances, they would be going to Canada along with around 75 family members (who are eligible) which include wives and dependent children. As of now, the nation expects an estimated number of fifty principal applicants with two family members on an average. This would make it to about 150 people in total who would qualify each year.