Canada extends special authorization for emergency travel for Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion

By Cristin Schmitz

Law360 Canada (March 22, 2023, 5:10 PM EDT) -- Ottawa has announced it is extending the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel which authorizes CUAET visa holders to travel to Canada under special immigration measures that respond to Russia’s ongoing illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The federal Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) said March 22 that the extension of the CUAET means that:

  • Ukrainians and their family members will have until July 15, 2023, to apply overseas for a CUAET visa, free of charge;
  • Anyone holding a CUAET visa will have until March 31, 2024, to travel to Canada under the special measures; and
  • CUAET holders already here in Canada will have until March 31, 2024, to extend, or adjust, their temporary status through the special measures, free of charge.

IRCC said settlement services will remain available to Ukrainians and their family members after they arrive, as will one-time financial support. Access to emergency accommodations for up to two weeks, if needed, is also available after arrival in Canada.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser

“We are closely monitoring the ongoing needs of Ukrainians and will adapt our response as needed,” the immigration department said.

“We remain committed to helping those fleeing Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine,” Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said in a statement.

 “We continue working to provide Ukrainians with a temporary safe haven and the vital settlement services and supports they need to thrive in communities across Canada. Canada will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine, including those who’ve been forced to flee Russia’s senseless invasion.”

Launched on March 17, 2022, the CUAET gives Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality the opportunity to stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to three years. They are also eligible for a free open work permit or study permit, which allows them to take a job with almost any Canadian employer, or enrol in an education program in Canada, the government said.

The immigration department stipulated that after July 15, 2023, Ukrainians wishing to come to Canada from abroad can still apply for a visa or a work or study permit through existing temporary-resident programs, “but they will be subject to fees and standard requirement.” The immigration department noted that the extended visitor, work or study status offered by the CUAET, along with settlement services such as skills identification and language training, can help those seeking to transition through IRCC’s existing programs to permanent residence in Canada.

See here for free access to Law360’s coverage of the war in Ukraine.

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