A fast-track visa processing pathway for Ukrainians is now accepting applications.

On March 17, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the launch of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), an accelerated temporary residence pathway for Ukrainians fleeing war.

Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality may stay in Canada for up to three years. Overseas applicants need to apply online for a visitor visa and provide their biometrics.

The Canadian government encourages CUAET applicants to apply for a three-year open work permit at the same time as their visa application. This will allow them to work in Canada for any employer.

Under this special program, Canada has waived many of the regular requirements associated with visitor visas and work permits. Elementary and high school students can attend high school as soon as they arrive in Canada. Anyone looking to study at the post-secondary level can apply for a study permit once they land in Canada.

Applicants who do not have a valid passport may still apply. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will issue a single journey travel document on a case-by-case basis, where appropriate.

The new measures include benefits for Ukrainian workers, students and visitors and their family members who are already in Canada. Ukrainians in Canada may either apply to extend their visitor status or work permit for three years, apply for a new work or study permit, or extend their existing permit. IRCC will also waive all extension and work or study permit application fees.

Canadian employers who wish to support Ukrainians with offers of employment to register these offers on Job Bank’s Jobs for Ukraine webpage. Job Bank will then work with local organizations and employers to help connect them with Ukrainians seeking work in their communities.

The Canadian government is also in discussions with provinces and territories, the business community, the Ukrainian-Canadian community and settlement organizations, on how best to support those arriving from Ukraine. IRCC will continue to monitor volumes of travellers and their needs closely and will take action as required.

Ukrainians and their family members are exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination entry requirements, but they must still meet all other public health requirements for travel, such as quarantine and testing. Anyone arriving under the CUAET must use ArriveCAN to upload their travel documents before arrival.

The CUAET was originally announced in early March, with the goal to simplify and speed up the immigration process to Canada by allowing Ukrainian nationals to apply directly online.

In addition to this new pathway, Canada is also expected to announce in the coming weeks the details of a special family reunification sponsorship pathway. This will allow Ukrainian nationals to reunite with their immediate and extended family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and settle in Canada permanently.

Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, Canada has undertaken a number of immigration related efforts to enable Ukrainians to seek refuge in the country. These efforts include faster processing, extensions and fee waivers for immigration documents and applications. As part of its response to the crisis in Ukraine, Canada has announced $117 million in funding to implement all of these special immigration measures aimed at expediting the arrival of Ukrainians.

With the situation in Ukraine becoming increasingly critical, several organizations and political parties are now also calling on the Canadian government to organize chartered flights to facilitate the arrival of Ukrainians. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not reject this possibility. The prime minister said at a press briefing Wednesday that if there is enough demand Canada will respond with extra measures.

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