Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) pathway is being extended to give even more Ukrainians hoping to flee their war-torn country a chance to find a safe place to live in Canada.
“We remain committed to helping those fleeing Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine,” said Fraser.
“We continue working to provide Ukrainians with a temporary safe haven and the vital settlement services and supports they need to thrive in communities across Canada. Canada will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine, including those who’ve been forced to flee Russia’s senseless invasion.”
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After Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine in February last year, Canada opened its arms to Ukrainians by putting in place the CUAET pathway on March 17, 2022.
Within its first year in place, that pathway received 943,730 applications for temporary residence, including 616,429 which have been approved, the latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveals.
Under the CUAET, 133,323 people have already arrived in Canada.
Wednesday, the immigration minister announced the CUAET pathway would be extended, meaning:
- Ukrainians and their family members will have until July 15 this year to apply overseas for a CUAET visa free of charge;
- anyone holding a CUAET visa will have until March 31 next year to travel to Canada under the special measures, and;
- CUAET holders who are already here in Canada will have until March 31 next year to extend or adjust their temporary status through these measures, free of charge.
“With this new program, those fleeing 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 when the program was announced last year.
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Ottawa upped its immigration application processing capacity in Europe after implementing the CUAET pathway and also sent mobile biometrics kits to Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest to take the fingerprints and portrait photos of prospective Ukrainian refugees in a bid to ensure proper security precautions were taken with the surge in applications.
The government has 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.
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,” notes 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.”
A dedicated Phone Line Provides Information To Ukrainians
Once the CUAET stops taking applications from overseas in mid-July, Ukrainians wishing to come to Canada from abroad will still be able to apply for a visa or a work or study permit through the IRCC’s existing temporary resident programs but will be subject to fees and standard requirements.
Among the 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.