Canada opens the door to Ukrainian refugees through a special residence program

Ukrainian refugees

Ukrainians can now arrive in Canada as temporary residents. This comes after the launch of the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) – a temporary residence pathway.


Amidst the crisis, Canada extends a helping hand for Ukrainians who wish to settle in Canada temporarily. The CUAET applicants can apply for ‘fee-exempt’ visitor visas and open work permits for up to 3 years.

Ukrainians can apply for a visitor visa online and provide biometrics even outside Ukraine. Applicants can apply with any of the documents:

  • Valid Ukrainian passport
  • Any other National identity document

Applicants can also apply without a passport or national identity document; however, the visa officer’s decision is based on the applicant’s temporary resident permit eligibility.

Refugees need not take the immigration medical exam and arrive in Canada even if they’re unvaccinated or got a vaccine that Canada does not recognize. All Ukrainians arriving in Canada are exempt from Covid-19 vaccination entry requirements but will have to go through the quarantine and testing once they reach Canada.

This fast-track pathway for Ukrainians includes benefits for visitors, workers, students, and immediate family members. Owing to the emergency, the Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has formulated regulations for Ukrainians such as:

  • Apply for a fee-exempt visitor visa & open work permit, and student permit after arriving in Canada
  • Elementary and high school students can join school once they arrive in Canada
  • Apply for a visitor visa even without a valid passport (under case-by-case basis)
  • For Ukrainians already in Canada, they can apply for extending their visitor visa or work permit validity

UCAET applicants can also apply for an open work permit and a visitor visa for up to 3 years which is all set to benefit Ukrainians who wish to work under a Canadian employer. Underpinning this, the Canadian Job Bank’s web portal has dedicated a ‘Jobs for Ukraine’ web page. Canadian employers who wish to offer employment will register job offers on the page.

Immediate family members of Ukrainians of any nationality living outside Canada can also obtain a visitor visa. In addition, a family reunification program will be in place very soon to reunite family members who are Canadian citizens or PR holders.

Furthermore, the Canadian government is closely working with provinces, territories, business communities, settlement organizations, and Ukrainian-Canadian communities to pave ways for supporting Ukrainians in all possible ways. Due to the Ukraine-Russia crisis, these immigration processes are funded by $117 million. It is to be noted 9000 migrants from Ukraine have already arrived in Canada since January this year.

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