Canada opens borders to an unlimited number of immigrants from Ukraine
Visa requirements for Ukrainians will be reduced as part of new immigration programs.
Contrary to many people's hopes for a complete abolition of visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens, the Canadian government has announced that they will remain in force. However, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said that two new programs will be created, which will make the immigration process much easier and still reduce some of the necessary requirements. These special immigration programs are expected to be open for applications by mid-March. According to data provided by Immigration Canada, information on processing times and application processes will become available in the coming days and weeks.
"For those who need shelter while war ravages their homeland, we are creating a Canada-Ukraine emergency travel permit," Fraser announced.
Canada has stated its willingness to accept through this program as many immigrants fleeing the territory of Ukraine as they express a desire to come to Canada.
"There is no limit to the number of applications we are willing to accept," Sean Fraser said.
Although the federal government is waiving most of the typical visa requirements to make this program the fastest way to accept as many Ukrainians as possible for up to two years, applicants will still be required to submit biometric data and undergo background checks before leaving for Canada.
Frieser explained, among other things, that "everyone who arrives under this new stream will also be eligible for an open work permit or study permit, which will allow them to get a job with any Canadian employer or enroll in an educational program."
As part of the statement, he also noted that the agency is prepared for a possible influx of Ukrainians. There are the necessary number of biometric kits and personnel ready to assist potential applicants at diplomatic posts in Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest, as well as 30 other locations throughout Europe. Moreover, Canada waives the application fee for all Ukrainians.
The second program aims to provide an "accelerated path" to permanent residency for Ukrainians whose family is already in Canada. According to the minister, a "greatly expanded range of family members" will be able to sponsor Ukrainians who want to move to Canada on a more permanent basis.
As part of his statement, Fraser also spoke about the possibility of Canada establishing a visa-free regime for Ukrainians. He noted that the implementation of such changes would require 12 to 14 weeks of work, for which there is simply no time because of the urgency of the situation. Moreover, in his opinion, the abolition of absolutely all visa requirements may lead to "slipping through the cracks", including people connected with Russia, which Canada is not willing to allow.