Navigating Canada’s Special Immigration Measures for Ukraine

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Canada has implemented various immigration measures to support individuals from Ukraine who have been impacted by the conflict with Russia. 

Through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a range of special immigration programs are being made available to assist Ukrainians. These initiatives include:

These measures will be effective as of October 23, 2023 and demonstrate the Canadian government’s commitment to aiding those affected by the ongoing conflict.

Permanent Residency for individuals who have familial connections to Canada.

The Canadian government offers permanent residency options for individuals in Canada who have family ties to Canadians. As part of this, two new family sponsorship programs  have been introduced by IRCC specifically for Ukrainian citizens residing in Canada. The first program, known as Category 1, is open to eligible individuals who have a family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. The second option, Category 2, is reserved for spouses or common-law partners of Ukrainian nationals who have relatives living in Canada.

Category 1—Family Members in Canada

Under this stream, individuals can apply for Canadian permanent residence if they fulfill the following criteria: 

  • Ukrainian national 
  • A family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, including a spouse or common-law partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or sibling.
  •  It is important to note that applicants must be in Canada when they submit their application and when they are granted permanent residence. 
  • They must also have a valid temporary resident status in Canada or have applied to restore their status if it has expired for less than 90 days.
  • They must be admissible to Canada and provide the necessary supporting documents (A valid Passport or travel document ) for their application.
  • A signed statutory declaration (IMM 0191) is supplied by their Canadian family member, which outlines the applicant’s connection with them.
  • The Canadian family member of the applicant must be a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, currently living in Canada, at least 18 years old, and not have been granted permanent residence themselves under this policy.
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Category 2—Spouse/Partner of Ukrainian National

This stream allows individuals to seek Canadian permanent residence if:

  • A person is the husband, wife, or common-law partner of a Ukrainian citizen, they have the opportunity to seek permanent residency in Canada under this group.
  • The applicant’s spouse or partner must be unable to leave Ukraine, missing, or presumed to have passed away. 
  •  It is important to note that applicants must be in Canada when they submit their application and when they are granted permanent residence. 
  • They must also have a valid temporary resident status in Canada or have applied to restore their status if it has expired for less than 90 days.
  • They must be admissible to Canada and provide the necessary supporting documents (A valid Passport or travel document ) for their application.
  • A signed statutory declaration (IMM 0191) is supplied by their Canadian family member, which outlines the applicant’s connection with them.
  • The Canadian family member of the applicant must be a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, currently living in Canada, at least 18 years old, and not have been granted permanent residence themselves under this policy.

Inadmissibility and Family Members Immigration

There are certain situations where individuals may not be eligible for permanent residence under these measures. This includes:

  •  Being outside of Canada
  •  Being inadmissible to Canada (although financial inadmissibility requirements can be waived in this measure)
  • Having a relationship that is not listed under the eligibility criteria

Family members can accompany the applicant to Canada and be included in the permanent residence application, as long as they meet the medical, criminal, and security requirements. These eligible family members include 

  • A spouse or partner in a common-law relationship
  • A dependent child who is under 22 years old and does not have a spouse or partner, or above 22 years old and relied on the applicant (you) for financial assistance prior to turning 22 and is currently unable to support themselves due to a medical or physical ailment
  • Grandchild (dependent child of the applicant or of their spouse or partner).

It is important to include all family members in the initial application, even if they are not currently immigrating with the applicant. Failure to do so will result in the inability to sponsor them later.

Canada has implemented additional and timely measures to provide support for individuals from Ukraine, as well as those residing in Ukraine, and to facilitate and expedite the return of Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members. These measures include:

  • The establishment of a dedicated hotline for immigration inquiries in Ukraine. The hotline, which can be reached at 613-321-4243 (collect calls accepted), is available to individuals in Canada and abroad.
  • The option for individuals to prioritize their inquiry by using the keyword ‘Ukraine2022’ in the IRCC web form.
  • Urgent processing of travel documents, including single-journey travel documents, for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have a valid passport.
  • Prioritization of work and study permit renewals for Ukrainians in Canada, and an extension of the policy allowing individuals to apply for a work permit from within Canada.
  • Issuance of open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers, and students who are unable to return to their home country.
  • Waiving of fees for travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proof of citizenship, visitor visas, and work and study permits.
  • Eligible Ukrainian nationals who wish to immigrate to Canada permanently can apply through various immigration programs and streams.
  • The CUAET settlement program offers a range of services to temporary residents in Canada who meet the eligibility criteria. These services include:
  •  language training
  • Assistance with integrating into Canadian life
  • aid with enrolling children in school
  • Support for accessing the labor market through activities like mentoring, networking, counseling, and skills development, opportunities to connect with local communities
  • Assessment of individual needs and appropriate referrals, and specific services tailored to the needs of women, seniors, youth, and LGBTQ2+ individuals. 
  • Additionally, arrival services are provided at the Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver international airports, which include translation and information on government and community resources. 
  • For more detailed information on newcomer resources, please visit the Government of Canada website.
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Immigration Support Measures by Canadian Provinces

Various Canadian provinces have implemented specific support measures to assist Ukrainian nationals in their immigration process.

Alberta’s Temporary Measures

Alberta has implemented temporary measures under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) to assist Ukrainian nationals. These measures include priority processing of applications, waiving application and post-decision service fees, and allowing the submission of incomplete applications for candidates affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

British Columbia’s Welcoming Ukraine Portal

The province of British Columbia has launched the Welcoming Ukraine portal, providing information in Ukrainian and Russian languages to Ukrainians moving to the province. The portal serves as a resource hub, and a Service BC hotline is available for further assistance.

New Brunswick’s website to assist Ukrainian immigrants in finding support services across the region.

The province of New Brunswick has created a website, which is accessible in both English and Ukrainian, to assist Ukrainian immigrants in finding support services across the region.

Manitoba’s Expression of Interest Draws

Manitoba’s government is conducting regular Expression of Interest (EOI) draws for individuals who meet the eligibility criteria of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) and are affected by ongoing events in Ukraine. This program aims to support Ukrainian citizens in their Canadian immigration applications.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Ukrainian Family Support Desk

Newfoundland and Labrador has established the Ukrainian Family Support Desk to assist residents of the province in bringing their loved ones to the province. They have also opened an office in Poland to provide in-person assistance for Ukrainian refugees. The office will provide information sessions and connect Ukrainians with employers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nova Scotia’s Collaboration with the YMCA

Nova Scotia has partnered with the YMCA to provide information and assistance to Ukrainians seeking to connect with employers and the community in the province. The immigration requirements under the Skilled Worker and Occupations in Demand streams of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program have been streamlined for Ukrainians. They also have access to all provincially funded settlement programs.

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Ontario’s Suite of Support Measures for Ukrainian Newcomers

Ontario offers a range of support measures for Ukrainian newcomers. These include 

  • Access to health care support and services through Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage
  • Access to drug benefits 
  • Emergency housing
  • Free education for Ukrainian elementary and secondary school students.
  •  Ontario also provides settlement resources and information in Ukrainian.

Prince Edward Island’s Support Services

Prince Edward Island has support services available for Ukrainians moving to the province. They encourage newcomers to register with PEI’s immigrant and refugee services for specialized assistance.

Quebec’s Immigration Measures for Ukraine

Quebec has implemented several measures for Ukrainian nationals. These include allowing Ukrainian nationals residing in the province to sponsor their extended family, speeding up the processing of applications for temporary foreign workers and international students, and providing support through settlement and integration services. Ukrainian nationals in Quebec can benefit from services such as childcare, schools, and healthcare.

Saskatchewan’s Special Draws

The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) is organizing exclusive draws for individuals from Ukraine, inviting them to apply for provincial nomination in order to strengthen their Canadian immigration requests.

Yukon’s Ukrainian Family Support Office

The Yukon has established a Ukrainian Family Support Office to assist individuals seeking settlement in the Yukon and Canada. The support office provides resources and guidance for Ukrainian residents in finding immigration pathways.

Conclusion

Canada’s special immigration measures for Ukraine offer various pathways for permanent residence. Additionally, Canadian provinces have implemented specific support measures catering to the needs of Ukrainian newcomers. These measures aim to streamline the immigration process and provide necessary assistance to ensure a smooth transition for Ukrainian individuals and families wishing to settle in Canada.

FAQs

What are the basic requirements to immigrate to Canada from Ukraine?

The basic requirements include having a valid passport, meeting health and character requirements, having sufficient funds to support yourself and your family, and meeting the language proficiency criteria.

How can I apply for permanent residency in Canada from Ukraine?

You can apply for permanent residency through various paths such as the Express Entry Program, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), or the Family Sponsorship Program.

 What is the Express Entry Program?

The Express Entry Program is a points-based system that manages the applications for permanent residency under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Can I apply for permanent residency while in Canada on a temporary visa?

Yes, in certain cases, you may be able to apply for permanent residency while in Canada on a temporary visa. You can explore options such as the Canadian Experience Class or apply through a Provincial Nominee Program.

What is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?

The Canadian Experience Class is a program that allows individuals with Canadian work experience to apply for permanent residency. It is specifically designed for those who have obtained skilled work experience in Canada.

How long does the immigration process to Canada from Ukraine usually take?

The processing times for immigration applications from Ukraine to Canada vary depending on the program you applied under.The duration can vary from several months to over twelve months.

Do I need to have a job offer in Canada to immigrate from Ukraine?

Having a job offer can significantly increase your chances of being selected for immigration to Canada. However, it is not always mandatory. Many immigration programs prioritize applicants based on their skills, education, and work experience.

Can I bring my family members with me when immigrating to Canada?

Yes, you may be able to bring your family members with you to Canada. Spouses, partners, dependent children, and sometimes parents or grandparents may be eligible for sponsorship or inclusion in your immigration application.

Is there a minimum language proficiency requirement for immigration to Canada from Ukraine?

Yes, demonstrating language proficiency is essential for immigration to Canada. The most commonly accepted language tests are the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) for English, and the TEF (Test d’évaluation de français) for French.

 What financial requirements do I need to meet to immigrate to Canada from Ukraine?

The financial requirements vary depending on your immigration program. Generally, you need to show that you have enough funds to support yourself and your family members during your initial settlement period in Canada. The specific amount required can change, so it is advisable to check the latest updates from the Canadian government.

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