Refugees in Alberta can now apply for a driver’s licence while they wait for their confirmation hearing with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
Since 2012, refugees haven’t been allowed to apply for a licence until the federal government processed their claim, despite being allowed to live and work in the province during this time. Brian Malkinson, minister of Service Alberta, said the inability to drive hinders many refugees from finding jobs.
“That wait (to process claims) is often months — months that refugees aren’t working, or able to drive a sick family member to get health care, or can’t drop off their kids at school,” he said.
“I’ve heard many stories of refugee claimants of not being able to get a job because their job requires them to have a driver’s licence.”