However, the process of applying for a special immigrant visa to come to the United States can take years, and of the 20,000 people in the SIV pipeline, about 10,000 have just started the process, the Department said. ‘State in recent weeks.
Violence in Afghanistan has escalated in recent weeks, leading lawmakers, lawyers and nonprofit groups to fear that the Biden administration will not be able to relocate the SIV candidates who have helped American troops and diplomats fairly quickly.
“This designation extends the possibility of permanent resettlement to the United States to several thousand Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their affiliation with the United States but who are not eligible for a visa.” Special Immigrant (SIV) because they did not have an eligible job, or because they did not meet the seniority requirements to become eligible, ”the State Department said.
“The United States’ goal remains a peaceful and secure Afghanistan,” said an agency fact sheet. “However, in light of increased levels of Taliban violence, the US government is working to provide some Afghans, including those who have worked with the United States, the opportunity to resettle refugees in the United States. “
“Groups of particular concern”
On Friday, the first flight of SIV candidates – about 200 people, including those who have worked with the United States and their families – landed in the United States, part of a priority group of 700 Afghan SIV candidates who have completed most of the basic process. necessary to obtain a visa. With their families, there are around 2,500.
The State Department said Afghans who did not meet the minimum “length of service” eligibility requirements for the SIV program, but “worked or worked as employees of contractors, local staff, d ‘interpreters / translators’ for the US government, US or NATO military, those’ who work or have worked for a US government funded program or project in Afghanistan supported by a US government grant or agreement Cooperation ”, and those“ who are or have been employed in Afghanistan by a US-based or non-governmental media organization ”as well as their eligible family members will receive the Priority 2 designation, making them eligible for the refugee program.
According to the department, the Priority 2 designation applies to “groups of concern designated by the State Department as having access to the program because of their circumstances and their apparent need for resettlement.”
“Once cases gain access to the (US Refugee Admission Program) they go through the same processing steps, including a thorough security screening,” the backgrounder says.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will address the issue Monday afternoon at the State Department.
CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.