Canada announces additional measures for refugees fleeing Ukraine

Ottawa/CMEDIA; Additional measures were announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a series of measures during his speech at the Global Citizen-organized social media rally Stand Up for Ukraine on Saturday to help Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion to come to Canada including charter flights to Canada for Ukrainians, short-term income support for six weeks, as well as temporary hotel accommodation for up to two weeks.

During a virtual press conference on Saturday, Minister of Transport of Canada Omar Alghabra said the federal government is in the process of finalizing the details with Canadian airlines on the number of flights that will be chartered, as well as their pick-up points for refugees.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said Canada will also exempt biometrics — fingerprints and identification photos — for Ukrainian refugees under the age of 18, over the age of 60, and those with previous Canadian visas that have no immigration issues.

New measures will help more Ukrainians take advantage of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program, said during the press conference, Fraser said, further details of which will be available in the coming days.

While the government continues to prioritize the issuing of Canadian passport and travel documents, proofs of citizenship, and visas, as well as student and work permit applications for Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine, Fraser said that the Government of Canada is also working to help facilitate travel for those Ukrainian refugees who may not have travel documents

Since the CUAET program launched last month, the federal government has approved over 30,000 applications from Ukrainians seeking refuge in Canada under the program, said Fraser and noted that this number is in addition to the thousands of applicants who were approved under different, pre-existing programs.

According to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Canadian government had received nearly 60,000 applications as of March 26. The minister had previously stated there will be no limit on the number of applications that will be accepted.

Launched on March 17 by the federal government, the CUAET program is designed to create an expedited pathway for temporary residence within Canada and involves streamlining current visa and travel requirements, removing most fees, and providing expedited processing facilitating the Ukrainians and their family members’ stay in Canada as temporary residents for three years. Those who arrive through this stream will also be eligible for an open work permit allowing employment with almost any employer in Canada for up to three years. The federal government is urging Canadian employers to register job offers with Job Bank’s Jobs for Ukraine webpage in order to hire displaced Ukrainians.

The government also recently expanded its settlement supports for Ukrainian refugees, offering key services including language training, information about life in Canada, employment aid, and services for women, seniors, youth, and LGBTQ+ individuals.

During the Stand Up for Ukraine event, Trudeau also announced an additional $100 million in humanitarian support for Ukraine to help provide added emergency health services on the ground and in neighboring countries, including trauma care, protection, and basic necessities such as shelter, water, and food.

Including the new funding announced Saturday, the federal government has provided $245 million in humanitarian aid since January 2022 in response to the conflict in Ukraine and the government’s continuous assistance to help Ukrainians around the clock.

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