Canada Announces New Immigration Programs/Initiatives for Ukrainians Fleeing WarMarch 3, 2022
On Thursday, March 3, 2022, the Government of Canada announced the following:
As part of the Government of Canada’s response to the war in Ukraine, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is introducing new immigration streams for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily or permanently.
For Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily, IRCC will create a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, available for individuals fleeing Ukraine. There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can apply. This is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way for Ukrainians to come to Canada and eliminates many of the normal visa requirements. All Ukrainian nationals will be able to apply through this new path, and, pending background check and security screening, their stay in Canada could be extended by at least 2 years. IRCC aims to have the extended pathway open for applications in 2 weeks, and, in the interim, encourages Ukrainians to apply through all existing programs, and their Applications will be prioritized.
IRCC will also quickly implement a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence for Ukrainians who have immediate and extended family members in Canada. IRCC will develop the details of this program in the coming weeks, including by working with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
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.
This announcement follows an earlier announcement on February 24, 2022, which reads as follows:
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking additional steps to support Ukrainians and people residing in Ukraine, and to make it easier and faster for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their accompanying immediate family members to return to Canada.
As part of the Government of Canada’s response, IRCC has taken the decision to prioritize applications for new and replacement travel documents for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members. Over a month ago, IRCC implemented measures to priority process citizenship grant applications for adoption, as well as permanent and temporary residence applications for people with a primary residence in Ukraine who want to reunite or travel with family, study, work, or start a new life in Canada. Ukrainian nationals currently in Canada on a temporary basis can apply to extend their status as a visitor, student or worker.
In addition to prioritizing applications, IRCC is launching a package of new immigration measures, including the following:
- Establishing 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 email will be prioritized.
- Implementing 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.
- Updating a Web page to provide current information on measures; this page will include content in Ukrainian for ease of reference.
- Ensuring that Ukrainians currently in Canada are able 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.
IRCC will issue 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. IRCC will waive fees, retroactive to February 22, 2022, for certain travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, and work and study permits. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks as these measures launch.
IRCC has also taken steps to increase operational readiness in the region, including relocating staff, moving additional supplies and equipment, such as mobile biometric collection kits, in anticipation of an increased volume of requests, and adjusting operations in offices across their global network to ensure service continuity for Ukraine. Online options are available for most applications.
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