Canada has always been a land of immigrants, welcoming people from various parts of the world to build their lives in a diverse and inclusive society. In recent times, the Canadian government has shown its commitment to providing opportunities for individuals who have sought refuge or temporary residence in the country. A significant development in this regard is the new family reunification pathway for Ukrainian temporary residents, which was launched on October 23. Under this pathway, Ukrainian temporary residents living in Canada now have the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status, provided they meet certain eligibility criteria.
The initiative opens doors to countless Ukrainians who have faced hardship in their home country and offers them a path toward making Canada their permanent home.
New Family Reunification Pathway
The family reunification pathway for Ukrainian temporary residents is a compassionate response by the Canadian government to the Ukrainian crisis and a demonstration of its commitment to helping those in need. This pathway allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members in Canada to explore the possibility of obtaining permanent resident status. The key eligibility criteria are as follows:
Residency in Canada: To be eligible for this pathway, candidates must be in Canada when they apply. They must also hold a valid temporary resident status in Canada or have applied to restore their status if it has expired for less than 90 days.
Documentation: Candidates should possess a passport or travel document, or provide supporting identity documents if they don’t hold one. Furthermore, they must be admissible to Canada.
Family Ties: In both eligibility categories, Ukrainian nationals or their spouses or common-law partners must have a family connection to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. The eligible family members include:
- Spouse or common-law partner
- Child (regardless of age)
- Sibling (or half-sibling)
This family reunification pathway is divided into two categories:
Category 1: Ukrainian Nationals Candidates in this category must be Ukrainian nationals. They must also provide a signed statutory declaration form (IMM 0191) from their family member in Canada, explaining the nature of their relationship.
Category 2: Spouse or Common-Law Partner This category is intended for candidates who are the spouse or common-law partner of a Ukrainian national with family in Canada. To be eligible, the Ukrainian spouse or partner must be unable to leave Ukraine, missing, deceased, or presumed deceased. Eligible candidates in this category must not have remarried or entered into a common-law relationship with another person since leaving Ukraine. They must also provide a signed statutory declaration form (IMM 0191) from their spouse or partner’s family member in Canada, explaining the relationship.
Implications and Benefits
The introduction of this family reunification pathway has several significant implications and benefits for Ukrainian families residing in Canada:
Path to Permanent Residency: Ukrainian temporary residents in Canada now have a clear path to becoming permanent residents. This change provides stability and security for them and their families, as permanent residency opens up more opportunities for employment, education, and social integration.
No Financial Undertaking: Unlike other family-class sponsorship programs, Canadian citizens or permanent resident family members are not required to sign a financial undertaking. This relieves the financial burden on the sponsoring family members.
Deadline for Applications: Families interested in taking advantage of this pathway have until October 22, 2024, to submit their applications. This extended deadline allows eligible individuals to gather the necessary documentation and information.
Complementary to Other Programs: The family reunification pathway for Ukrainian temporary residents is not a replacement for existing immigration programs, such as the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). Ukrainians accepted under this pathway are in addition to any family members who come to Canada through other programs, ensuring that more families can be reunited.
The Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET)
It is important to note that this new pathway is a part of Canada’s broader response to the Ukrainian crisis. One key aspect of this response is the Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), which was launched in March 2022 in response to the Russian invasion.
The CUAET provided Ukrainian citizens fleeing unrest with an opportunity to apply for a visitor visa and a temporary work permit at no cost. This program was designed to support Ukrainians during a tumultuous time in their homeland. The statistics regarding CUAET are quite impressive, with 1,189,372 applications received, 909,464 approved applications, and 185,753 Ukrainians arriving in Canada as of September 30, 2023.
Under this program, Ukrainians were exempted from many usual fees for temporary residents, including those for temporary resident status extensions, restoration of status, study permits, work permits, and biometrics. The Government of Canada even offered a one-time settlement support fee of $3,000 to eligible applicants until June 2023.
However, it’s important to note that as of July 15, 2023, IRCC stopped accepting new applications through CUAET, although it continues to process applications received on or before that date. Those who have been approved but have not yet arrived in Canada have until March 31, 2024, to make use of these special measures. After the March deadline, approved Ukrainian nationals who have not yet arrived in Canada will be subject to regular processing and fees for temporary resident (visitor) visas, and they must wait until they arrive in Canada to apply for work or study permits.
The new family reunification pathway for Ukrainian temporary residents in Canada is a testament to the country’s commitment to humanitarian values and its support for those who have faced adversity in their home countries. It provides a lifeline to Ukrainian families, offering them the opportunity to establish a stable and prosperous life in Canada. The path to permanent residency through this program is a promising development for the Ukrainian community in Canada, offering them a brighter future and the chance to fully integrate into Canadian society.
As Canada continues to welcome Ukrainian citizens and support them through programs like the CUAET, it reinforces the country’s reputation as a welcoming and compassionate nation. The family reunification pathway, along with other initiatives, showcases the importance of supporting individuals and families in times of crisis and offering them a fresh start in a new home. It is a shining example of how nations can extend a hand of friendship to those in need and build a better, more inclusive world.
The pathway became available starting on October 23, allowing Ukrainian residents to apply for permanent residency.
Ukrainian temporary residents in Canada who have family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents, including spouses, parents, children, and more, are eligible to apply.
Families have until October 22, 2024, to submit their applications through this pathway.
The pathway is part of Canada’s response to the Ukrainian crisis, and the CUAET program was initiated to support Ukrainian citizens during the crisis. The CUAET program allowed Ukrainians to apply for visitor visas and temporary work permits, while the family reunification pathway is focused on permanent residency.
The new family reunification pathway is an initiative that allows Ukrainian temporary residents in Canada to apply for permanent resident status if they meet specific eligibility criteria.