Canada's Special Immigration Measures for Ukraine
Canada has put in place measures to facilitate the application process for temporary and permanent residence for Ukrainian nationals and to prioritize the processing of applications and immigration documents for Ukrainians.
This page provides comprehensive information on the immigration options and application procedures for Ukrainian citizens seeking to move and settle in Canada.
Table of Contents
- New immigration pathways for Ukrainians
- Additional federal measures to support Ukrainians
- Province and territory-specific measures
New immigration pathways for Ukrainians
Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel
Ukrainians wishing to come to Canada on a temporary basis will be able to obtain a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET). This is a new special pathway designed to facilitate the immigration process by eliminating many of the usual visa requirements.
After a background and security check, i.e. biometrics, Ukrainians and their immediate family members, regardless of nationality, will be allowed to stay in Canada for up to three years. There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can apply under this program. Applications are to be submitted online for a visitor's visa.
Biometric data can be submitted at any Visa Application Centre (VAC) outside Ukraine, in countries such as Moldova, Romania, Austria and Poland, among others.
Furthermore, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has identified the following groups of people who are considered low risk and therefore may be exempt from biometric screening:
- persons aged 14-17 years;
- persons over 60 years of age;
- persons who have already obtained a Canadian visa, who do not have a derogatory immigration history and who are in possession of supporting documents.
3-Year Open Work Permit
The Canadian government advises applicants to apply for a three-year open work permit at the same time as they apply for their visa. Under this special program, most of the usual requirements associated with a visitor visa or work permit will be waived.
- Primary and secondary school students are allowed to enroll and start school immediately upon arrival in Canada, and anyone wishing to study at the post-secondary level can apply for a study permit upon arrival in Canada.
- Applicants without a valid passport may also apply, and IRCC will issue a single journey travel document on a case-by-case basis, should it be required.
- Ukrainian workers, students, visitors and their family members already in Canada may also benefit from these measures. They can either:
- apply for an extension of their visitor status or work permit for 3 years; or
- apply for a new work or study permit or extend their existing permit.
In order to ease the burden on applicants, IRCC will waive fees for the extension of work or study permits as well as all application fees for these programs.
Expedited Family Sponsorship for Ukrainians
In addition, the federal government will launch a family reunification sponsorship program to facilitate permanent entry of Ukrainians to Canada. Family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be able to be sponsored by them and obtain permanent residence in Canada. Details of this new program are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Ukrainians who come to Canada under these new pathways will also be able to apply for an open work permit, allowing them to work for any employer of their choice in Canada.
The Government of Canada is calling on employers who wish to support Ukrainians with job offers to register their offers on Job Bank’s Jobs for Ukraine webpage. The Job Bank will then work with regional organizations and employers to help them connect with Ukrainians seeking employment in their area.
Additional measures to support Ukrainians
Canada has taken additional and timely measures to support Ukrainians and residents of Ukraine, and to facilitate and expedite the return to Canada of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members. They are as follows:
- A dedicated hotline for immigration enquiries for Ukraine has been set up. The line is available to individuals in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243 (collect calls are accepted). In addition, anyone seeking information using the IRCC web form can now add the keyword "Ukraine2022" in order to have their inquiry prioritized;
- Canada provides urgent processing of travel documents, including single-journey travel documents to immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have a valid passport;
- The Canadian government is ensuring that Ukrainians are able to extend their stay or work longer in Canada by prioritizing the renewal of work and study permits and extending a policy that allows people to apply for a work permit from within Canada. Temporary residents who receive a job offer are allowed to remain in Canada and start working while they wait for their work permit application to be processed.
- Canada is issuing open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers, and students who are currently in Canada and cannot go home;
- Fees for travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proof of citizenship, visitor visas and work and study permits, are currently waived.
- Canada is exempting unvaccinated Ukrainians from Canada's COVID-19 vaccination entry requirements. They are however required to meet all other public health requirements for travel, such as quarantine and testing and use of ArriveCAN app.
- Ukrainian nationals wishing to immigrate to Canada permanently can apply for permanent residence under a variety of different immigration programs and streams.
- Settlement program services are available to temporary residents in Canada who are eligible for the CUAET. Available services include:
- Language training;
- Information and orientation to life in Canada, such as assistance with registering children in school;
- Information and services on labour market access, including mentoring, networking, counselling, skills development and training;
- Activities that promote links with communities;
- Assessment of other needs of Ukrainians and referral to appropriate agencies;
- Services to meet the needs of women, older people, youth and LGBTQ2+ people;
- Arrival services at Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver international airports, including translation and information on government and community services.
- More information about newcomer services can be found on the Government of Canada page.
- Starting April 20, Canadians and Canadian companies can donate Aeroplan points to the Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund through the Air Canada or Miles4Migrants websites. Cash donations can also be made to the fund through the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto's Travel & Settlement Fund. Ukrainian nationals and their accompanying family members who hold a valid Canadian travel document and have been approved for travel to Canada will be eligible for the program. Details on how eligible Ukrainians and their families can access the program will be announced in the coming weeks. Canada aims to enable at least 10,000 Ukrainians and their families to fly to Canada.
- On 11 May, Canada announced that three charter flights will be available to bring Ukrainians to Canada. These flights will be available to Ukrainians who have been approved under the CUAET. All three flights will depart from Poland, with seats available on a first come, first served basis. The first flight will leave for Winnipeg on May 23, the second will fly to Montreal on May 29, and the third will take off for Halifax on June 2. Further details and information on how to register will be emailed by IRCC to those who have been approved under the CUAET.
- Ukrainians arriving in Canada can apply to receive transitional financial assistance, a one-time payment of $3,000 per adult and $1,500 per child (17 years and under). Ukrainians and their family members who are in Canada with a valid work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit or visitor record under the CUAET will all be eligible to receive this one-time payment. Applications for the assistance must be submitted through the Government of Canada’s online portal, which opened on June 2, 2022.
Province and territory-specific measures
Alberta has put in place temporary measures to assist Ukrainian nationals applying under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP).
AAIP gives priority processing to applications and post-decision services. The province is waiving application and post-decision service fees for new and existing applications from Ukrainian nationals. In some cases, candidates who are missing documents required for their application to the IPAA due to the conflict in Ukraine may be able to submit an incomplete application.
The province of British Columbia has launched a Welcoming Ukraine portal to provide information to Ukrainians moving to the province: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/tourism-immigration/ukraine/welcome
The portal is available in Ukrainian and Russian and is available in addition to a Service BC hotline available at 1-800-663-7867.
Manitoba's government is responding to the situation in Ukraine by conducting regular Expression of Interest (EOI) draws for individuals who meet all the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program eligibility criteria and are affected by ongoing events in Ukraine.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador launched the Ukrainian Family Support Desk on March 2 to help residents of the province bring loved ones to the province. In addition, Newfoundland and Labrador has also announced that it is expanding this initiative to include in-person assistance on the ground by opening an office in Poland. Staff at the office in Poland will work with the Canadian Embassy to help Ukrainian refugees navigate the process of moving to the province, whether they are seeking temporary refuge or permanent resettlement in the province. According to the province, the office will provide information sessions on immigration programs and support services available in the province, and help connect Ukrainians with employers in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Ukrainian Family Support Desk can be reached at UkrainianFamily@gov.nl.ca.
Ukrainians who intend to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador or who have recently arrived in the province can contact the provincial government using the online service registration form or by visiting this website.
The province is working with the YMCA to provide information to Ukrainians who want to connect with employers and the community in the province. The government is also streamlining the immigration process for Ukrainians, easing immigration requirements under the Skilled Worker and Occupations in Demand streams of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, and providing Ukrainians with access to all provincially funded settlement programs.
Quebec, Canada's francophone province, operates its own immigration programs. The province announced the following measures for Ukraine:
- Quebec will allow Ukrainian nationals residing in the province to sponsor their extended family for permanent immigration.
- The province will also speed up the processing of applications for temporary foreign workers and international students from Ukraine.
- The open work permit that Canada has announced for Ukrainian nationals will also be valid in Quebec and holders will be able to benefit from Quebec government services such as childcare, schools, and access to health care.
- Quebec will also accelerate the processing of Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) applications and Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications from employers of Ukrainian nationals who are already in the province.
- Ukrainian nationals will be able to receive support from 95 settlement and integration services, which include housing, registration of children into school, French courses, job integration and other services.
Saskatchewan is holding special draws through its Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program inviting Ukrainian citizens to apply for provincial nomination to help support their Canadian immigration applications.
The Yukon has established a Ukrainian Family Support Office to assist those seeking to settle in the Yukon and Canada. The support office will help Yukoners and Ukrainians in finding immigration pathways and will also provide resources to Ukrainians seeking residency in the Yukon and Canada.