Canada immigration news: Canada will spend $117 million for special immigration measures to hasten the arrival of Ukrainians, says Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In a joint news conference in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday, the Canadian prime minister announced Ottawa will also provide more humanitarian aid in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Two million Ukrainians have fled their homes. It is a refugee crisis across this region,” said Trudeau.
“Even, as we see here today in Poland, people opening up their homes, I want you to know that Canada is here to help.”
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In addition to fast-tracking applications of Ukrainian refugees to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada is also vowing to triple the amount it will spend to match individual Canadians’ donations to the Canadian Red Cross’ Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.
That means Canada is now pledging up to $30 million, up from $10 million.
Trudeau also took aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin during the press conference. The Russian leader declared war on Ukraine on Feb. 24 and then quickly invaded, triggering the mass exodus of millions of Ukrainians who are fleeing for their lives amid a rising number of civilian casualties.
Trudeau Lambasts Putin’s Disregard For Human Life
“Putin’s callous disregard for human life is absolutely unacceptable,” said Trudeau. “
“It is very clear that he has made the choice to specifically target civilians now,” he said. “Canada has joined the largest referral to the international criminal court in history and offered assistance to expedite this work. The world will continue to make Putin accountable for his war crimes.”
Trudeau’s week-long trip to Europe also included stops in the United Kingdom, Latvia, and Germany. His meetings with other world leaders focused on the global response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
The Canadian prime minister’s pledge to invest more to help Ukrainian refugees comes in the wake of Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announcement earlier this month that Canada will accept an unlimited number of Ukrainian refugees.
That Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel pathway is expected to be open starting roughly March 17.
The Russia-Ukraine war is the biggest assault on a European state since the Second World War.
“I am inspired by the courage Ukrainians have displayed as they uphold the democratic ideals that we cherish in Canada,” said Fraser earlier this month.
“While they defend themselves against Putin’s costly war of aggression, we will provide safe haven to those who fled to protect themselves and their families. Canadians stand with Ukrainians in their time of need and we will welcome them with open arms.”
Ukrainian Refugees Can Comes To Canada In Unlimited Numbers
Under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, Ukrainians will be able to come to Canada, pending background checks and security screenings, and stay for at least two years, including extensions to that permit.
All Ukrainians who come to Canada as part of these measures will be eligible to apply for open work permits, making it easier for employers to quickly hire Ukrainian nationals.
Until that pathway comes into effect the IRCC is encouraging Ukrainians to apply through all programs and reassuring them that theirs will be the first ones processed.
Canadian immigration announced last month that Ukrainians already in Canada on a temporary basis are now able to apply to extend their status as a visitor, student or worker.
Among the new immigration measures announced since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war are:
- a dedicated service channel for Ukraine enquiries that will be available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. In addition, clients can now add the keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC Webform with their enquiry and their e-mail will be prioritized;
- urgent processing of travel documents, including issuing single-journey travel documents for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have valid passports;
- an updated web page to provide current information on measures. This page will include content in Ukrainian for ease of reference;
- permission for Ukrainians currently in Canada to extend their stay or stay longer in Canada by prioritizing the renewal of work and study permits, and extending a policy that allows individuals to apply for a work permit from within Canada. This policy would allow temporary residents who receive a job offer to remain in Canada and start working while they wait for their work permit application to be processed, and;
- the issuance of open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot go home, so they can stay longer if they wish. Fees are being waived, retroactive to Feb. 22, for certain travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, and work and study permits.
IRCC Provides Additional Resources For Ukrainians
Canadian immigration officials have also upped their game in Ukraine, relocating staff and moving additional supplies and equipment, such as mobile biometric collection kits, in anticipation of an increased volume of requests.
The IRCC has also adjusted operations in offices across its global network to ensure service continuity for Ukraine. Online options are available for most applications.
The IRCC is also planning to soon put in place a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence for the immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who may want to start a new life in Canada.
Ottawa is working with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress to hammer out the details of that program and expects to unveil it in a few weeks.
“To the people of Ukraine, you have inspired the world with your courage and resilience, and Canada is here to support you,” the IRCC states on its website. “We are actively working to launch these measures and stand ready to welcome more Ukrainians to Canada.”