BlogCanada Opens Door to Ukrainians Fleeing War!

8 March 2022

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On February 24, 2022, the world witnessed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces – an aggression of this magnitude not seen in Europe since World War II. With the world’s third largest population of Ukrainians, Canada is home to over 1.4 million people of Ukrainian ancestry. Given Canada’s significant connections to Ukraine, it was not surprising that the Government of Canada, through the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), took immediate steps to facilitate the entry of Ukrainian citizens to Canada.

On March 3, 2022, IRCC announced two new immigration pathways for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily to escape the war or permanently to be reunified with family in Canada.

Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel

The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, is available for individuals fleeing Ukraine to allow facilitated entry to Canada. IRCC will accept an unlimited number of applications by Ukrainian nationals and will allow Ukrainians that are approved to travel to Canada where they can live, work or study and may have the opportunity to extend their initial stay by at least two years.

IRCC aims to have this program up and running by mid-March, approximately two weeks after the March 3rd announcement.

Special Family Reunification Sponsorship Pathway for Permanent Residence

As noted earlier, Canada has the third largest population of Ukrainians in the world, the second largest being Russia, Ukraine’s aggressor. In order to provide safety to those fleeing war in their homeland, IRCC is facilitating family reunification with relatives in Canada. Immediate and extended Ukrainian family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents will have the opportunity to be sponsored for permanent residence here in Canada.

Open Work Permits

IRCC has also announced that Ukrainian nationals temporarily in Canada as visitors, students, or workers, are eligible to apply for open work permits so that they can freely earn a living to support themselves here in Canada. IRCC has explained that they are extending this policy to all Ukrainians who come to Canada under one of these two pathways discussed in this article. With an open work permit, Ukrainians fleeing war and approved to come to Canada will be able to freely seek out work once settled in Canada.

Canada has a history of upholding the protection of human rights as well as providing humanitarian assistance to countries and people in need. The establishment of these programs by IRCC means that Canadian legal immigration professionals will be keeping a close eye on their development and implementation over the coming weeks so that we can do our part to assist the Ukrainian people.

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