ukraine flagCanada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET)

In response to Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Canadian government has created  a special, accelerated temporary residence pathway for Ukrainians seeking safe haven in Canada while the war in their home country continues. As of May 5, 2022, more than 71,000 applications have been approved.

With the CUAET:

  • Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality may stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to 3 years;
  • Applicants who are overseas need to apply online for a Canadian visitor visa and provide their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo);
  • Applicants are encouraged to apply for a 3-year open work permit at the same time as their visa application, which will allow them to work in Canada;
  • Many of the regular requirements associated with a normal visitor visa or work permit have been waived;
  • Elementary and high school students can register for and start attending school as soon as they arrive in Canada, and anyone looking to study at the post-secondary level can apply for a study permit once on Canadian soil;
  • Applicants who do not have a valid passport may still apply, and IRCC will issue a single journey travel document on a case-by-case basis, where appropriate.

Ukrainian workers, students and visitors and their family members who are already in Canada may either apply to extend their visitor status or work permit for 3 years, apply for a new work or study permit, or extend their existing permit.

To ease the burden on applicants, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is waiving all application fees for these programs.

The Government of Canada is also calling on 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. IRCC will continue to monitor volumes of travellers and their needs closely and will take action as required.

How these measures compare with the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program

ukraine childWhen people arrive in Canada through the PSR pathway, they arrive as Permanent Residents – their refugee days are over and they can stay in Canada permanently.

When people arrive through the CUAET pathway, they arrive as visitors, students, or temporary workers – they will need to renew this temporary visa in 3 years if they want to stay longer. The expectation is that some will return to Ukraine when it is safe to do so.

The PSR pathway is sponsor driven – Canadians must apply to bring refugees to Canada.

The Ukrainian pathway is refugee driven – Ukrainians must complete the on-line visa application, complete biometrics, and arrange their own travel to get to Canada.

The PSR pathway is long - typically several years from application to arrival.

The Ukrainian pathway is quick – typically less than 1 month to arrive.

In the PSR pathway, sponsor responsibilities are very clear – the amount of money required, the length of time we will be responsible to help newcomers, settlement responsibilities are clear.

The Ukrainian pathway is not clear. If we welcome someone into our home, we don’t know if it will be for 2 months, for 8 months, or longer. It will depend on how soon they can find work and become self-supporting. Every family will likely be different.

In the PSR pathway, an entire family unit is usually sponsored.

The Ukrainian pathway will see many women and children and elderly people coming to Canada. Most husbands and fathers are staying behind to fight.

Our government is considering some kind of program for Canadians who are opening up their homes to Ukrainians - perhaps monthly payments or tax credits of some kind - but at this point nothing has been established. New measures will be made public as they become available.

Information about the CUAET and how to apply can be found here.

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