Afghan refugee resettlement: Questions and answers

Afghan refugee resettlement initiative: Questions and answers

The federal government has announced the resettlement of up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghan nationals to Canada because of recent political changes in Afghanistan. Many of these Afghan nationals will come to BC.

Legal Aid BC (LABC) has an important role in helping Afghan refugees resettle in BC. Under LABC's refugee and immigration coverage, Afghan refugees may apply to claim refugee status.

What services does LABC provide for refugees?

LABC’s immigration coverage is for refugees who have entered Canada and want to make a claim for protection under s. 96 or s. 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). 

Coverage is based on risk to the person if they returned to their country of origin. Afghan people in BC on permits to study, work, or visit may want to make a claim for refugee status.

We fund applications by people living in BC for the following:

  • Refugee status under s. 96 of IRPA (fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion)
  • Protection under s. 97 of IRPA (fear of torture or risk to life, or risk of cruel and unusual punishment or treatment)
  • Landing on humanitarian compassionate grounds under s. 25 of IRPA for applicants who face unusual, undeserved hardship in their country of origin

We also fund appeals and judicial reviews of Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada decisions.

Which services does LABC not provide for potential Afghan refugees?

LABC is limited to providing legal representation for people living in BC, so we can't provide a legal aid lawyer to help Afghans living abroad apply for refugee status or resettlement in Canada.

We’ll work to make sure that refugee claim application guides are available in multiple languages, so people in BC can help Afghans outside of Canada complete and submit the necessary forms to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

How is LABC helping Afghan refugees resettle in BC?

We’ll continue to fund refugee claims for Afghan clients who arrive in Canada or who are here on other authorizations and want to make a claim.

Are there new initiatives to help Afghan refugees?

Yes, the federal government has launched two special programs to support Afghan resettlement in Canada.

At LABC, we’ll work with our usual partners, such as Kinbrace, to produce materials to guide people in completing resettlement applications.

What resources are available to help refugees?

The Legal Aid in BC (LABC) website lists immigration-related Q&As that we'll continue to update. People with family in Afghanistan can email their questions to LSSweb@legalaid.bc.ca and we’ll add the Q&A to the website. We'll also send out Facebook posts or tweets on Twitter with updated information.

We have multilingual publications to help refugee claimants.

  • Our bilingual infocard Need Help with Your Refugee Claim? promotes the legal aid immigration phone line and other legal aid services. This infocard is available online and in print in English and seven other languages, including Pashto and Dari, which are the most widely spoken languages in Afghanistan.
  • Legal Aid Can Help You brochure outlines what legal aid is, and how and where to apply for it. And our multilingual poster in Dari and Pashto provides information on how to contact us and find out about free legal help. 

LABC also provides funding to Kinbrace to produce the Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide (available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Mongolian, Somali, Urdu, Farsi, Tigrigna, Turkish, Sorani Kurdish).

The Canadian Council for Refugees has a one-pager on the most recent information about programs on resettlement, family reunification, and the situation of refugee claims.

See also our comprehensive refugee resources list