On March 3, 2022, the government of Canada announced two new immigration streams to support individuals affected by the conflict in Ukraine.1
One will allow an unlimited number of Ukrainians to come to Canada on a temporary basis with expedited emergency visas, and the other is a new family reunification sponsorship pathway for those looking to stay permanently in Canada.2
Since January 1, 2022, over 6,100 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada. This number is expected to increase significantly in the upcoming months.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Canada is home to 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent – the world’s second largest Ukrainian diaspora.3
The new immigration streams will enable Ukrainian nationals to more smoothly enter, stay, live and work in Canada.
Also, the immigration authorities are formulating measures for Ukrainians currently in Canada, so that they can extend their stay in the country.
A list of key considerations for employers appears below.
Canada Ukraine Emergency Travel Authorization: Expedited Emergency Visas
All Ukrainians who come to Canada as part of these measures will be eligible for open work permits, making it easier for employers to quickly hire Ukrainian nationals. Ukrainian nationals currently in Canada as visitors, workers and students
will also be eligible to apply for an open work permit or study permit.
This new immigration stream will allow Ukrainians to stay in Canada for up to two years. Most visa requirements will be waived, including fees, and the application process has been simplified to include an application form and biometrics for security and background screening.
All Ukrainian nationals will be eligible to apply, with no limit on the number of applications accepted. The new visa program is expected to open for applications in two weeks. In the interim, Ukrainian nationals are encouraged to apply through all programs and the Canadian government will continue to prioritize their applications.
Special Family Reunification Sponsorship Pathway
For Ukrainian nationals looking to make Canada their permanent home, the Canadian government is also introducing an expedited path to permanent residency for Ukrainians seeking to reunite with family members who are already in Canada, through a new family sponsorship program. Further details on the special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence will be available in the coming weeks.
Additional Measures to Support Ukraine
- Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has established a dedicated service channel for Ukraine immigration questions available for people both in Canada and abroad at +1-613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. They can add the keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC crisis web form with their questions and they will be prioritized.
- Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Ukrainian nationals who hold a temporary resident visa or permit will be permitted to enter Canada. This also applies to people who are vaccinated with vaccines not currently recognized by Canada.
- IRCC previously announced that it will waive fees, retroactive to February 22, 2022, for certain travel and immigration documents. These include Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proof of citizenship, visitor visas, as well as work and study permits. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks as these measures launch.
- IRCC is prioritizing and urgently processing travel documents for Canadians, permanent residents, and their immediate family members, including issuing single-journey travel documents for immediate family members who do not have valid passports. Many of these documents are issued within 24 hours.
- IRCC continues to prioritize citizenship grant applications for adoption, and permanent and temporary residence applications for people with a primary residence in Ukraine who want to reunite or travel with family, study, work or start a new life in Canada.
- IRCC is prioritizing the renewal of work and study permits, so Ukrainians currently in Canada can extend their stay in Canada. IRCC has also extended a policy which allows visitors to apply for a work permit from within Canada. This policy allows temporary residents who receive a job offer to remain in Canada and start working while they wait for their work permit application to be processed (subject to eligibility).
- IRCC has increased operational readiness in Europe, including relocating staff and moving additional supplies and equipment, such as mobile biometric collection kits, in anticipation of an increased volume of requests. It is also adjusting operations in offices across the global network to ensure service continuity for Ukraine. Online options are available for most applications.
- The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has an administrative deferral of removals (ADR) in place for Ukraine. An ADR is a temporary measure that can delay a removal order that would normally require a person to leave Canada immediately. The removal of these individuals will resume when the situation in their country or region stabilizes, and those who are not allowed in Canada for security reasons or on grounds of criminality, international or human rights violations, or organized crime can still be removed despite the ADR.
Key Considerations for Employers and Ukrainian Nationals
- Employers with operations in Ukraine should form evacuation plans for their expatriate and local workforce.
- Key stakeholders within organizations should be identified to act as decision-makers and to provide instructions to staff.
- Local and expatriate populations in Ukraine should be identified and a documentation review should be undertaken to determine what immigration options are available.
- Consular posts are available to offer emergency guidance on potential evacuation plans as well as points of contact for emergency services.
- KPMG Law can help evaluate evacuation options for staff in Ukraine. This includes a review of which countries will accept an employee without the completion of any immigration paperwork as well as countries that have implemented measures to welcome those affected by the conflict.
- A significant number of countries around the world have implemented measures to assist displaced Ukrainians, including those with digital nomad visas and other “remote work” options.
For further information on options for affected staff we encourage you to contact your qualified immigration counsel, employment counsel or KPMG Law LLP for further guidance.
1 See the March 3, 2022 News Release "Canada to welcome those fleeing the war in Ukraine."
4 See the March 3, 2022 News Release "Canada to welcome those fleeing the war in Ukraine."
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labor law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.
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