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Immigration Update

Canada’s Very Special (And Exceptional) Measures for Ukrainians Fleeing the War

Our Canadian government has provided a swift immigration response to Russian’s violent invasion of Ukraine by introducing several new immigration streams for Ukrainians who wish a safe refuge in Canada temporarily or permanently.

For Ukrainians who wish to travel to Canada temporarily, the Canadian government has created a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, available for individuals fleeing Ukraine and has indicated that there will be ‘no limit’ to the number of Ukrainians who can apply.  The multiple entry visa can be valid for up to 10 years, depending on the validity of the passport.   It allows the applicant to travel in and out of Canada, as long as their visa is valid.  Applicants may also apply for a work permit simultaneously. The application process is fee exempt.

Biometrics are generally required; medicals are generally not. Those travelling with children, require permission from a second spouse, if not accompanying the family. This emergency visa is the most expeditious and efficient route to obtain visas for Ukrainians to travel to Canada.  Generally, the visas are issued at Canadian processing posts proximate to Ukraine, such as those in Warsaw, Bucharest, and Austria.  Mobile biometrics are also available in locales including Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.  Various normal visa requirements have been relaxed. All Ukrainian nationals are eligible to apply through this new path and, pending background check and security screening. There is also the option to apply for refugee status or to apply for permanent residence under an economic class.

All Ukrainians entering Canada as part of these measures will be eligible to apply for open work permits.  Although this policy is generous, the decision was made in part an effort to avoid a barrage of refugee claims for those who only seek temporary refuge in Canada.  Canada’s immigration system allows initially approved refugees to obtain open work permits.

In addition, a new policy is in place to issue open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot return to Ukraine.

Other generous and facilitative measures for Ukrainians include expedited/prioritized family sponsorship and permanent residence applications, plus citizenship grants for adoption.

Non-vaccinated Ukrainians will be allowed entry as visitors, temporary resident permit holders and permanent residents. Again, another exceptional measure.

The government has also indicated that Canadian Citizens and permanent residents from Ukraine will receive expedited processing of passports and travel documents so that they may return to Canada.

There are a number excellent Canadian options for Ukrainians fleeing the war and the possibilities, once in Canada, are endless.  Canada has rolled out the red carpet to welcome Ukrainians.  Some say that it helps that the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, has a Ukrainian background, however, it is my opinion that these measures would have been put into place regardless, given the severity of the invasion/war.  We also have over 100 permanent residence categories and approximately 500 different work permit categories in Canada, including the aforementioned.  Canada warmly welcomes Ukrainian refugees to Canada and will issue visas for their safe entry with no limit to those who can apply.