A Lewiston refugee resettlement agency is looking to hire an additional case manager to serve only Afghan refugee clients, according to a posting on the online job board Indeed.
The refugee resettlement agency, Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services (MEIRS), is one of three agencies in Maine that are approved to resettle refugees in the state, alongside Catholic Charities Maine and the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine.
In early October, the three resettlement agencies announced that they had been approved to resettle double the amount of refugees in fiscal year 2024 (FY24) as they did in FY23.
In FY 23, 419 refugees were resettled in the state — in FY 24, that number is expected to increase to 840.
Rilwan Osman, executive director of Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services in Lewiston, said in October that his office has been approved to resettle 200 refugees in FY24, twice the 100 they resettled last year.
Osman told Maine Public last month that MEIRS was planning to begin resettling refugee families from Syria and Cambodia within weeks.
The MEIRS job posting describes the position as a case manager who will work exclusively with Afghan refugees to assist them with medical services, access to welfare benefits, and emergency case management.
Following the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Afghanistan by President Joe Biden in August 2021 — which resulted in the Taliban retaking control of the country — the United States has taken in nearly 90,000 Afghan refugees, according to the State Department.
Refugees are a separate immigrant population from asylum seekers, as refugees are brought to the United States under the federal Refugee Admissions Program and must undergo screening before entering the country.
This screening is meant to determine whether an individual has experienced past persecution or has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Unlike asylum seekers, refugees are allowed to work immediately upon arrival in the U.S., and can usually apply for citizenship within five years of their arrival.
President Biden has set the goal of 125,000 refugees to be resettled in the U.S. for FY24 — a 30-year high.
MEIRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on their job posting or questions regarding how many Afghan refugees they plan to resettle in FY24.