Read the French translation of this GMS Flash Alert.
The government of Canada has announced the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program to support individuals affected by the conflict in Ukraine.1
Under this program Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality, may stay in Canada for up to three years as temporary residents. Since January 1, 2022, over 6,100 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada.2 This number is expected to increase significantly in the upcoming months.
WHY THIS MATTERS
According to what has been reported, Canada is home to 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent – the world’s second largest Ukrainian diaspora.3 The latest measures are part of Canada’s effort to help Ukrainians and their family members come to Canada as quickly as possible and to provide them with the ability to work and study while in Canada. The CUAET also gives Ukrainians already in Canada the option to extend their visitor status, work permit, or study permit so they can remain in Canada temporarily.
Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel
The CUAET will provide Ukrainian nationals currently outside of Canada a visitor visa to come to Canada temporarily, until it is safe to return to Ukraine. This streamlined visitor visa process will be:
· Valid for 10 years or until passport expiry; and
· Will allow individuals to travel in and out of Canada so long as their visa is valid.
The visitor visa will be processed on a priority basis (target processing times of 14 days for standard cases) and provide an option to apply for a fee-exempt open work permit at the same time.4 An open work permit would allow the individual to work for any employer and in any location in Canada.
Upon arrival in Canada, Ukrainian nationals will receive status as either a visitor, worker (if they applied for an open work permit), or student if the applicant is under 18 and wishes to study in Canada. Status will be granted for up to three years. Individuals looking to study at the post-secondary level can apply for a study permit once they arrive in Canada.
The CUAET is available for individuals who either hold a valid Ukrainian passport or another national identity document. 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 (further information can be provided upon request).
Biometrics, Medical Exams and Fees
Ukrainian nationals will continue to be required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo). Biometrics can be completed at any Visa Application Center (VAC). VACs are open in Moldova, Romania, Austria and Poland, and there is an extensive VAC network across Europe. While a medical exam will not be required before entry to Canada, certain medical tests may be required after arrival. Fees for a temporary resident visa, open work permit, study permit, biometrics, temporary resident permit will not apply.
Immediate family members of Ukrainian nationals who are outside of Canada can also apply under the CUAET. Family members include spouse or common-law partner, dependent child or dependent child of a dependent child.
Options for Ukrainian Nationals Inside Canada
Ukrainian nationals who are currently in Canada can extend their stay in Canada for up to three more years or until their passport expires. Students can extend their stay for the duration of their studies.
Additional Measures to Support Ukraine
IRCC is taking additional steps to support Ukrainian nationals seeking to come to Canada.5
- 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 question and it 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. These individuals must continue to meet all other COVID-19-related requirements, such as quarantine and testing requirements.
- Organizations currently seeking to recruit or retain Ukrainian nationals should advise of the option to apply for an open work permit.
- 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 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 help ensure service continuity for Ukraine. Online options are available for most applications.
- In addition to the CUAET, 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.6
Key Considerations for Employers and Ukrainian Nationals
- Employers with operations in Ukraine may take steps to form evacuation plans for their expatriate and local workforces.
- Key stakeholders within organizations may be identified to act as decision-makers and to provide instructions to staff.
- Local and expatriate populations in Ukraine may be identified and a documentation review may 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 qualified immigration counsel, employment counsel or KPMG Law LLP for further guidance.
1 See IRCC (updated March 17), “Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel.”
Also, see "Immigration measures for people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine."
2 See IRCC News Release (updated March 14), "Canada to welcome those fleeing the war in Ukraine."
4 See IRCC (updated March 17), “Ukraine immigration measures: open work permits for Ukrainians.”
5 See IRCC (March 2) “Additional immigration support for those affected by the situation in Ukraine” - Canada.ca.
6 See IRCC (March 3), “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 labour 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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