The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel pathway is now accepting applications, says Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“With this new program, those fleeing (Russian President) Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine will be able to stay in Canada for up to three years and are eligible for free open work and study permits,” tweeted Fraser on Thursday.
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Canada is upping its immigration application processing capacity in Europe and has sent mobile biometrics kits to Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest to take the fingerprints and portrait photos of prospective Ukrainian refugees in its bid to ensure proper security precautions are taken ahead of the anticipated surge in applications.
IRCC Expanding Capacity To Accept Applications In Europe
Earlier this week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) communications advisor Peter Liang confirmed that Ottawa is setting up temporary pop-ups for biometrics collection in addition to IRCC’s pre-existing Visa Application Centre network.
Ottawa has already welcomed about 8,500 Ukrainians since the start of the year, including many people who applied to come to Canada before Putin declared war on Ukraine on Feb. 24 and then quickly invaded the country
With the new pathway for Ukrainian refugees starting to take applications on Thursday, Canadian businesses and employers can now add jobs for Ukrainians on Canada’s online job bank.
“We are working with partners, including provinces and territories, the business community, the Ukrainian-Canadian community, and settlement organizations on how best to support Ukrainians,” tweeted Fraser.
“We stand with Ukraine and will offer safe harbour for those who want to come to Canada.”
Canada has vowed to accept an unlimited number of Ukrainian refugees – and could see a massive influx of newcomers.
3 Million Ukrainians Have Fled Their Homes
“Today we have passed another terrible milestone: three million refugees have fled from Ukraine,” tweeted Filippo Grandhi, the United Nations’ high commissioner for refugees, on Tuesday.
“The war has to stop. Now.”
But even as both Russia and Ukraine expressed optimism over the progress of diplomatic talks this week, a Russian airstrike destroyed a theatre being used as a shelter by hundreds of Ukrainians. Russian forces also reportedly rained fire on other Ukrainian cities Wednesday.
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.”
Under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, Ukrainians can come to Canada, pending background checks and security screenings, and stay and apply for open work permits, making it easier for employers to quickly hire them.
Ukrainians Already In Canada Can Extend Their Stay
Canadian immigration announced last month that any Ukrainian already in Canada on a temporary basis can also apply to extend his or her 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 Web form 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.
New Special Family Reunification Pathway Expected In A Few Weeks
IRCC is also planning to soon put in place a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residents for the immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who may want to start a new life in Canada.
“IRCC will also quickly implement a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence,” wrote Liang. “We will develop the details of this program in the coming weeks.”
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.”