163 people who fled the Taliban and in Afghanistan facilitator letters from the Canadian Senator Marilou McPhedran’s office are stranded in an Albanian hotel, after being refused entry by the Canadian government, The Globe and Mail reports.
The letters, which were issued in October 2021, appeared to authorise the Afghan citizens entry into Canada.
However, the Canadian government has said that the letters are inauthentic and invalid. As a result, the people have been unable to make the cross-Atlantic journey to Canada and have been stranded in an Albanian hotel for the past year and a half.
In February, it was revealed that Senator Marilou McPhedran’s office had issued 640 facilitator letters, which the Canadian government said were inauthentic.
One source close to the matter told The Globe and Mail that the situation for those in Albania has been difficult. The group is contending with an uncertain future and is struggling to adjust to life in a new country.
Some of the people stranded were helped out of Afghanistan by FIFA. A spokesperson for FIFA told The Globe that the hotel has been “transformed into a centre for Afghan refugees.” The global football association said that it is providing the them with food, shelter, and medical care.
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However, FIFA said that it is not able to help the Afghan citizens with their immigration status. The association said that it is up to the Canadian government to decide whether or not to grant them entry into Canada.
The Canadian government has said that it is reviewing the cases of the Afghans who received facilitator letters from Senator McPhedran’s office. However, it has not said when it will make a decision on their immigration status.
The situation of the Afghan citizens who received facilitator letters from Senator McPhedran’s office highlights the challenges that Canada faces in resettling refugees. The Canadian government has been criticised for its slow and bureaucratic immigration system. As a result, many refugees are forced to wait years before they are able to come to Canada.