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War in Ukraine: Canada Announces Immigration Pathways for Ukrainians

Updated: May 14

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced on March 3, 2022, the new immigration pathways for Ukrainians that they have developed to support the people of Ukraine. These pathways will help Ukrainians find work, apply for either temporary or permanent residency, and reconcile with their families in Canada.

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War in Ukraine: Canada Announces Immigration Pathways for Ukrainians

With the war that Ukraine is facing right now, Ukrainians attempt to flee from their homeland to reconcile with their family members abroad or migrate to another country to start a new life, may it be temporarily or permanently, until the war against Russia is over.

With that, the IRCC also announced that there will be no limitations as to how many Ukrainians can apply for immigration, which makes it easier for them to flee from Russia’s invasion.

Canadian Immigration Pathways for Ukrainians

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Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel

The IRCC has developed this new pathway for Ukrainians who want to stay in Canada temporarily.

The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel is a stream developed with no limitation on the number of Ukrainian applicants, wherein several normal visa requirements are removed. All Ukrainians who apply through this path, pending background check and security screening, will be granted at least an additional 2 years of extension of stay in Canada.

The IRCC is hoping that they can open the application for this stream in two weeks. For now, Ukrainians are highly encouraged to apply through all of Canada’s immigration programs, not just the immigration pathways for Ukrainians, as they will be prioritized.

Eligibility: All Ukrainian Nationals

Canadian Immigration Pathways for Ukrainians

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Special Expedited Family Sponsorship Program

Family reunification is one of the core objectives of IRCC’s programs. As such, IRCC announces that they will implement a special expedited family sponsorship stream for the reunification of family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Ukraine. IRCC will announce the details of this immigration pathway for Ukrainians in the coming weeks.

Eligibility: Family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Ukraine.

Open Work Permit

People of Ukraine who came to Canada through the special immigration pathways for Ukrainians mentioned above will be eligible to apply for an open work permit. With this work permit, they will be able to work for any job of their choice in Canada.

IRCC is also waiving fees for the following travel and immigration documents, retroactive to February 22, 2022:

  1. Canadian passports

  2. Permanent resident travel documents

  3. Proof of citizenship

  4. Visitor visa

  5. Work and study permit

Eligibility: All Ukrainians who come to Canada through the above programs and all Ukrainian visitors, workers, and students who are currently in Canada and cannot safely go home.

Do Ukrainians need to be vaccinated to enter Canada?

Not at all. Vaccination status is not a requirement. Ukrainians who are still unvaccinated are allowed to enter Canada as long as they have the following documents:

  1. Temporary resident visa,

  2. Temporary resident permit, or

  3. Approved written notice of permanent residency application

Who are the priority applicants?

All Ukrainians are set by Canada as its priority list of applicants in immigration programs. Every one of them is prioritized whether they go to Canada to:

IRCC announces that they will also prioritize those Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are in Ukraine in processing their travel documents to enable them to go back to Canada as soon as possible.

Other than that, Ukrainians who are staying in Canada will be eligible to apply for an extension as visitors, students, or workers. Still, Ukrainians will be prioritized when they renew their work and study permits, and the policy of work permit applications within Canada will be extended.

Furthermore, Ukrainians who have temporary residency and happen to receive a job offer will be allowed to stay in Canada and begin working throughout the time that they are still waiting for their work permit application.

Canadian Immigration Pathways for Ukrainians

Photo from Ukrinform

The IRCC's Preparation for Handling Increased Applications For The New Immigration Pathways for Ukrainians

With the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the IRCC decided to expand its readiness in preparation for the expected high number of requests and adjust operations in offices all around the world to accommodate the new immigration pathways for Ukrainians. The IRCC decided to relocate staff and move extra supplies and equipment—mobile biometric application kits.

It doesn’t stop there, either.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has executed administrative deferrals of removals (ADR) for Ukraine and its people. Through this, those Ukrainian nationals who need to leave Canada immediately will be delayed.  However, this action will continue the moment the crisis in Ukraine stops. Nonetheless, those who have criminal records and human rights violations will be removed regardless.

Special Provincial Support for Ukrainian Nationals

Quebec: The government of Quebec announces that those Ukrainians currently in Quebec will be allowed to sponsor their extended families. Also, they will make sure that the application process for Ukrainian workers and international students, the Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC), and the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will be quickened.

Meanwhile, in terms of the open work permit, they will be accepted in Quebec. In fact, those work permit holders will also be eligible for the services that the Quebec government provides, such as:

  1. Educational childcare services

  2. Access to schools

  3. Access to healthcare

Saskatchewan: The province of Saskatchewan, on March 4, 2020 invited 36 Ukrainian nationals to apply for a Provincial Nomination Draw. This provincial nomination draw does not guarantee Ukrainians permanent residency, but it will help a lot for those who are seeking a place to stay amidst the crisis in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, the Canadian government, along with the IRCC, is making efforts to develop streams and programs for Ukrainian nationals that will help them in these difficult times. This just shows that they are with these people who need help and support, and they stand with them as they battle with this crisis.

How Ukrainians Can Contact IRCC

IRCC has created a special service channel for Ukrainians. Ukrainian nations needing help with immigration, both in Canada and abroad, can call IRCC at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted.

Ukrainian Nationals can also submit an enquiry through the IRCC Crisis Web Form and enter the keyword “Ukraine2022” for priority service.

Need Help with the Immigration Process?

We are actively working with our Ukrainian clients to prepare rush applications as they are on the move, trying to seek safety. If you need help with any of the above immigration programs, you can give us a call at +1-604-484-9474 to go over your options and how our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can help.

A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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