As Ukrainians flee invasion from Russia, the Canadian government announces new immigration pathways

In order to make immigration to Canada more accessible to Ukrainians, Canada has established new immigration streams.

Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel

Announced on March 3, 2022, by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) can be obtained by Ukrainian nationals who seek urgent evacuation to Canada. No quota will be set for the number of authorizations issued, and any Ukrainian national may apply. No referral from UNHCR or other agencies will be required. If the application is approved, IRCC will extend the approved temporary residence status for the visa holder by at least two years, pending a background check and security screening.

The government expects to have the CUAET program open to receive applications by March 17, 2022.

All Ukrainian nationals who enter Canada under authorization will be eligible for open work permits. Therefore, they will be permitted to work for any employer in Canada.

Temporary and Permanent Residence in Canada

Ukrainians are otherwise encouraged to apply to all immigration programs, as IRCC will prioritize their applications. IRCC expedites applications for people living in Ukraine who submit applications for work permits, study permits, reconnecting with family, or permanent residence under the regular statute.

For Ukrainian nationals outside Canada but already in possession of a temporary resident visa, temporary resident permit, or official approval notice for permanent residence, Canada will waive considerable entry requirements for unvaccinated travellers.

IRCC is also expediting the issuance of travel documents for Canadians and their family members who want to return to Canada after visiting Ukraine. For immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have valid passports, IRCC will provide single-journey travel documents.

Ukrainian nationals already in Canada can apply to have their visitor, student, or worker status renewed.

IRCC will also extend a public policy that allows visitors to apply for work permits within Canada, a privilege not ordinarily allowed under the immigration statute. All temporary residents, regardless of nationality, will be permitted to apply for employer-specific work permits if offered a job by a Canadian employer.

Otherwise, Ukrainian nationals who are currently in Canada as visitors, workers, or students and cannot return home will be granted an open work permit.

For certain travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, and work permits, fees will be waived retroactively to February 22, 2022.

Stay of Removal Orders

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has implemented an administrative deferral of removals (ADR) for Ukrainian nationals in Canada facing removal. The ADR will be in place indefinitely until regional stability is restored. However, temporary residents who are inadmissible for criminality, abuse of international or human rights, organized crime, or security may still face removal due to the severity of the offense.

As Senior Immigration Consultant, Kieran Verboven leads the Cambridge LLP Immigration Practice Group. He is a member in good standing with the ICCRC, holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and has extensive experience representing Canadian immigration and refugee clients since 2007.

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