- The Government of Canada is working to resettle 40,000 Afghans to Canada through three programs (Information about these programs are now available in Dari and Pashto languages)
- Special immigration program for Afghan nationals (and their families) who assisted the Government of Canada. (18,000 people)
- Pathway to permanent residence for extended family members of former interpreters. (5,000 people)
- Special humanitarian program focused on resettling vulnerable Afghans, including human rights activists, women leaders, journalists, ethnic/religious minorities and LGBTI individuals.
Between August 2021 and July 6, 2023, Canada has resettled 34,210 Afghans under the special immigration programs for Afghans. Regularly updated information on the number of applications received and approved and arrivals can be found on Government of Canada’s webpage.
Hamilton has received 520 Afghan Government Assisted Refugees and 220 Privately Sponsored Refugees as of July 6, 2023. Hamilton has also received a small number of secondary Afghan refugees – those who moved to Hamilton from another city. Most Afghan arrivals in Hamilton have found permanent housing and some have already secured employment.
- As part of addressing the Afghan refugee crisis, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced on August 29, 2021 that certain fees and requirements will be waived for Afghan citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents.
NEW: The government of Canada has announced a temporary policy to facilitate the sponsorship of Afghan refugees by Groups of Five or Community Sponsors without requiring Refugee Status Determination document issued by UNHCR. Please note that there is a limit of 3,000 applications for this program. To learn about additional requirements for sponsors, visit https://www.rstp.ca/en/training/afghanistan-public-policy-sessions/
- Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC) launched the Hamilton Afghan (Re)settlement Taskforce to provide a coordinated response to the arrival of Afghan newcomers in Hamilton, through regular sharing of information among organizations with a key role to play in the settlement and integration of newcomers. The Taskforce brings together leaders from the City of Hamilton, re/settlement, housing, health and informal sectors to identify the emerging needs and challenges of the incoming Afghan arrivals, and work towards finding solutions.
- Wesley provides primary resettlement support for all government assisted refugees in Hamilton, including temporary accommodation, welcome and orientation, positive integration, and community connections.
- Many other settlement and community services in Hamilton provide supports to immigrants and government assisted refugees and privately sponsored refugees. (Both types of refugees arrive in Canada with permanent resident status). Click here to access a list of local organizations that help newcomers.
In Canada, there are various ways to privately sponsor refugees.
- Learn more about sponsoring refugees on the Government of Canada’s website.
- The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program offers resources and webinars for private sponsors, including Groups of Five, Community Groups and Sponsorship Agreement Holders, on how to privately sponsor refugees.
- You can also connect with local Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) like Diocese of Hamilton Office for Refugees and Anglican Diocese of Niagara or others listed on the government of Canada website to learn more about the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program. (Please note that there are certain criteria for privately sponsoring refugees, and we encourage you to exhaust resources on Government of Canada and Private Sponsorship Training Program websites to learn about sponsorship requirements and process before approaching local SAHs.)
- Lifeline Afghanistan is a non-partisan network of individuals and organizations responding to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Primarily, Lifeline Afghanistan is focused on engaging Canadians in supporting the private sponsorship and in developing innovative strategies to provide social and economic opportunities for Afghan refugees to Canada.
- Donate to Wesley to support resettlement initiatives for Afghan refugees in Hamilton.
- Volunteer to support area resettlement programs. Volunteer needs and processes are being assessed. Please check back regularly for updated information on this.
- Provide affordable housing. Landlords and property managers who can provide affordable and safe housing for refugees, please contact Wesley at email@example.com
- Be a welcoming and inclusive community member. Arriving in a new community having fled war and crisis can be extremely stressful. Being friendly and welcoming to all goes a long way to making our newest residents feel good as they get to know their new community, make friends and start over in a new country.
Hamilton has experience supporting and welcoming new arrivals in previous influxes of refugees.
- Learn about Canada’s programs for vulnerable Afghans.
- Follow organizations such as Canadian Council for Refugees to keep informed and to see their recommendations for addressing gaps and barriers in the Afghan refugee resettlement program.
If you are new to Hamilton and would like to learn more about the services available to you in the city. Download our Welcome to Hamilton guide below!