Canada easing Afghan helpers' immigration

Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

OTTAWA, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The Canadian government is cutting red tape to keep immigration promises made to interpreters and aides in Afghanistan, the Toronto Star reported Tuesday.

Since Canada joined the NATO international military intervention in 2001, it has employed locals as translators, guides and "fixers" with a promise of expedited immigration for those who put themselves at risk for at least 12 months, the newspaper said.

However, as of Dec. 31 only 97 applicants and their families had been granted immigration and scores more had been rejected or delayed, the report said.

Unidentified sources told the Star Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has quietly ordered Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to cut red tape, review 159 previous Afghan immigration denials and speed up the process.

The sources said decisions will be made by Feb. 15 and Afghans who are approved will be flown to Canada before July 1.

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