A company that supplies Afghan translators for Canada's mission in Kandahar may have mistakenly raised the interpreters' hopes of emigrating to Canada, according to a newly released document.
A contingent of Canadian military and civilian officials say International Management Services, or IMS, told interpreters that their immigration papers were being considered - even though not every application was.
The officials noted the finding in a report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which they submitted in March after spending three weeks in Kandahar reviewing applications made under a special immigration program.
The Canadian Press obtained a partly-censored copy of the report under the Access to Information Act.
The report says problems arose when an unidentified group or person contacted IMS to verify the translators' work history.
"Complications arose when (blank) contacted IMS, the prime contractor for many of the CF's interpreters and other language assistants, to confirm employment records," the report says.
"(Blank) reported that IMS, staffed in Kandahar by local nationals, informed some program applicants that they were being considered. Given that the list submitted to IMS was only of individuals that were potentially eligible, this likely raised false expectations among applicants."
Presumably, the blanked-out portions of the report refer to the International Organization for Migration, which administers the immigration program for the Canadian government.
An IMS supervisor in Kandahar says he doesn't know of any interpreters who were wrongly told that their applications were under consideration.
"I don't know anything about that," said Mohammad Arif, who oversees the firm's operations from a one-storey office located just outside the walls of Kandahar Airfield.
He referred questions to the International Organization for Migration in Kandahar city. That organization could not be reached for comment.
The organization passes approved applications to a "joint referral committee," comprising senior Canadian military and civilian officials at Kandahar Airfield, for the thumbs up or down.
That is the same committee which wrote the report for Citizenship and Immigration.
One of the committee's recommendations is that applicants include copies of their IMS contracts with their paperwork, to "minimize" contact with the company during the referral process.
Some IMS interpreters say the company never told them anything about the status of their immigration applications.
"No, no, no. IMS has no business with our immigration," said a 23-year-old interpreter, who asked the he be called "Faizy" to protect his identity.
No one from Citizenship and Immigration was immediately available to comment.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the fast-track program last year to help Afghans who face what he called "extraordinary personal risk" by working with Canadians in Kandahar.
Applicants require 12 months' service to the Canadian mission and a recommendation letter from a senior soldier or diplomat. They also need to meet standard immigration criteria such as criminal, medical and security screening before being allowed to come to Canada.
The application process has been slow and cumbersome. By the end of May, only 25 of 114 applicants had been approved to move to Canada. Since then, the number of applications has swelled to roughly 250.
The committee's report notes that it takes up to three hours to go over each case. The group says more people need to be brought in to do the job.Report Typo/Error
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