Canada is to open a new pathway to permanent residency for Ukrainians.
Candidates must be in the country on temporary resident visas and already have family here to qualify for the one-year pathway, which opens on October 23.
“As we continue to witness the devastating impact of Putin’s illegal invasion, we stand resolute in our condemnation of this senseless violence,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“We continue to extend unwavering support and a lifeline to families separated by this conflict, including through this family reunification pathway that will help Ukrainian families stay together as they rebuild their lives in their new communities in Canada.
“This continued support builds on our steadfast commitment to help Ukrainians find a safe haven and provide them with the assistance they need.”
Details of the new pathway to help Ukrainians in Canada become permanent residents are to be announced closer to the launch of the program but immigration officials have already made it clear it will not have an impact on the number of spaces available through the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).
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“Once in Canada, temporary residents will be eligible to apply for an extended stay of up to three years through study permits and open work permits, all of which will be prioritized,” notes Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on its website.
“They will also have access to settlement services, such as language training and employment services. These measures will help them thrive in communities across the country.”
Canada’s move to offer permanent residency to Ukrainians flies in the face of the advice by international relations experts who have cautioned it could send the wrong message to Ukrainians fighting for their freedom back in the Ukraine.
“We want to, generally, encourage the eight to 11 million people that fled to go back and rebuild,” Ihor Michalchyshyn, chief executive officer of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, reportedly told the Canadian Press.
Earlier this year, Michal McGill Institute for the Study of Canada director Daniel Béland reportedly told the news agency that any move by Ottawa to offer Ukrainians permanent residency should be closely co-ordinated with the Ukrainian government.
In diplomatic circles, a premature offer of permanent residency to Ukrainians could be seen as a sign that Ottawa is less-than-optimistic about Ukraine’s chances of winning this war and beat back Russian forces.
CUAET offered open work and study permits to Ukrainians
“This is something that certainly should involve a discussion with the Ukrainian government,” Béland reportedly said. “At the same time, we don’t know how long this conflict will be. It’s unlikely to end any time soon.”
Only weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded the Ukraine in February last year, Canada responded by opening its arms to Ukrainians and putting in place the Canada-Ukraine Authorizations for Emergency Travel (CUAET) pathway.
It went into effect March 17, 2022.
By Canada Day this year, the CUAET program had received more than 1.1 million applications and 793,804 had been approved. As of July 1, Canada had opened its arms and welcomed 166,849 Ukrainians under the CUAET program.
In April, Reuters reported that since the start of that war as many as 354,000 Russian and Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or injured.
An assessment reportedly collated by the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency revealed Russia had by then suffered 189,500 to 223,000 casualties in all, including 35,500 to 43,000 killed in action and 154,000 to 180,000 wounded.
The Ukraine had reportedly suffered 124,500 to 131,000 casualties in total, including 15,500 to 17,500 killed in action and 109,000 to 113,500 wounded in action.
As it implemented the CUAET pathway, Ottawa upped its immigration application processing capacity in Europe and also sent mobile biometrics kits to Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest to take the fingerprints and portrait photos of prospective Ukrainian refugees.
The government also increased its federal settlement programs to include language training, orientation, employment assistance and other supports for Ukrainians as they settle into their new communities.
Ukrainians Coming To Canada Given $3,000 Per Adult And $1,500 Per Child
In addition to settlement services, Ukrainians fleeing to Canada are also offered transitional financial assistance of $3,000 per adult and $1,500 per child.
“These funds will help Ukrainian nationals and their family members meet their basic needs, such as transportation and longer-term housing, as they arrive in communities across Canada and find a job,” noted IRCC on its website.
“Settlement services will remain available to Ukrainians and their family members after they arrive so that they can fully participate in Canadian communities while they are here. Ukrainians and their family members will also continue to benefit from the one-time transitional financial support, as well as from access to emergency accommodations for up to two weeks, if needed, after they arrive in Canada.”
Among the other immigration measures announced since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war for Ukrainians are:
- a dedicated service channel for Ukraine enquiries that is available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. In addition, clients can add the keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC Web form with their enquiry and their e-mail is then 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 includes 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 allows 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 last year, for certain travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, and work and study permits.