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Russian invasion – Canada announces new immigration streams for Ukrainians

Canada remains steadfast in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ukrainian immigrants have helped build this country, and we stand with the courageous people of Ukraine in upholding the values that our countries share.

As part of the Government of Canada’s response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is introducing new immigration streams for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily or permanently.

For Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily, we will create a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, available for individuals fleeing Ukraine. There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can apply. This is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way for Ukrainians to come to Canada and eliminates many of the normal visa requirements.

New measures for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily and permanently. Click To Tweet

All Ukrainian nationals will be able to apply through this new path, and, pending background check and security screening, their stay in Canada could be extended by at least 2 years. We aim to have the extended pathway open for applications in 2 weeks, and, in the interim, we continue to encourage Ukrainians to apply through all programs, and their applications will be prioritized.

While the world has witnessed the unwavering dedication of the Ukrainian people to their country, we recognize that some immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may want to start a new life in Canada. For these families, IRCC will quickly implement a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence. We will develop the details of this program in the coming weeks, including by working with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

All Ukrainians who come to Canada as part of these measures will be eligible to apply for open work permits, making it easier for employers to quickly hire Ukrainian nationals. As previously announced, IRCC will issue open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot safely go home.

More information on these new temporary and permanent residence programs, including processing times, will be available in the coming days and weeks. Over the last several weeks, IRCC has been working closely with other government departments, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and others across the Ukrainian-Canadian community to ensure that all measures meet the needs of Ukrainians and their communities. IRCC will continue to engage with provinces and territories, and other partners as to how they can contribute and support the effort.

To the people of Ukraine, you have inspired the world with your courage and resilience, and Canada is here to support you. We are actively working to launch these measures and stand ready to welcome more Ukrainians to Canada.

“I am inspired by the courage Ukrainians have displayed as they uphold the democratic ideals that we cherish in Canada. While they defend themselves against Putin’s costly war of aggression, we will provide safe haven to those who fled to protect themselves and their families. Canadians stand with Ukrainians in their time of need and we will welcome them with open arms.”

– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • IRCC established a dedicated service channel for Ukraine immigration enquiries available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. Clients can add the keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC crisis web form with their enquiry and it will be prioritized.
  • Since January 1, 2022, over 6,100 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada. All immigrants, refugees and visitors, including temporary foreign workers and students, are carefully screened before coming into Canada. This screening ensures that they do not pose a threat to the health, safety or security of Canadians.
  • The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has issued a class-based national interest exemption to allow unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Ukrainian nationals who hold a temporary resident visa or permit to enter Canada. This also applies to people who are vaccinated with vaccines not currently recognized by Canada. These individuals will be subject to all other public health requirements to protect the health of Canadians. We have a responsibility to protect the safety and security of Canadians and the Ukrainians that are already here.
  • In addition to these new measures, IRCC previously announced that we will waive fees, retroactive to February 22, 2022, for certain travel and immigration documents. These include Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, as well as work and study permits. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks as these measures launch.
  • IRCC is prioritizing and urgently processing travel documents for Canadians, permanent residents, and their immediate family members, including issuing single-journey travel documents for immediate family members who do not have valid passports. Many of these documents are issued within 24 hours.
  • IRCC continues to prioritize citizenship grant applications for adoption, and permanent and temporary residence applications for people with a primary residence in Ukraine who want to reunite or travel with family, study, work or start a new life in Canada.
  • IRCC is prioritizing the renewal of work and study permits, so Ukrainians currently in Canada can extend their stay in Canada. We also extended 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.
  • IRCC has increased operational readiness in Europe, including relocating staff and moving additional supplies and equipment, such as mobile biometric collection kits, in anticipation of an increased volume of requests. We are also adjusting operations in offices across our global network to ensure service continuity for Ukraine. Online options are available for most applications.
  • The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has an administrative deferral of removals (ADR) in place for Ukraine. An ADR is a temporary measure that can delay a removal order that would normally require a person to leave Canada immediately. The removal of these individuals resumes once the situation in their country or region stabilizes, and those who are not allowed in Canada for security reasons or on grounds of criminality, international or human rights violations, or organized crime can still be removed despite the ADR.
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