Ukrainians in Canada may now be eligible for permanent resident status
Starting October 23, Canada has launched a new family reunification pathway for Ukrainian temporary residents.
Under the new pathway, Ukrainian temporary residents already living in Canada may be able to apply for permanent resident status if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Candidates must have one or more Canadian citizen or permanent resident family member in Canada to be eligible such as a spouse, common-law partner, parent, grandparent, sibling, children or grandchildren.
The pathway is split into two eligibility categories with some criteria applicable to both. For example, according to the Government of Canada, candidates must:
- Be in Canada when they apply
- have valid temporary resident status in Canada, or have applied to restore your status if it has been expired for less than 90 days
- have valid temporary resident status in Canada, or have applied to restore status if it has been expired for less than 90 days
- hold a passport or travel document, or provide supporting identity documents if you don’t hold one
- be admissible to Canada
In both categories, the Ukrainian national (or their spouse or common-law partner) must be able to demonstrate a relationship to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident including a:
- spouse or common-law partner
- child (regardless of age)
- grandparent, or
- sibling (or half-sibling)
Category 1 candidates must be a Ukrainian national. They must also provide a signed statutory declaration form (IMM 0191) from their family member in Canada explaining the relationship to them.
Category 2 is for candidates who are the spouse or common-law partner of a Ukrainian national who has family in Canada. Their spouse or partner must be unable to leave Ukraine, be missing, have passed away, or have presumed to have passed away.
Further, eligible candidates through this category must not have remarried or be in 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 to them.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says this new pathway will not impact the number of spaces available through the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). Ukrainians accepted under this pathway are in addition to any family members who come to Canada through this program.
Families who wish to take advantage of this pathway have until October 22, 2024, to submit an application. Further, unlike other family-class sponsorship programs, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident family member will not be responsible for signing a financial undertaking.
Canada launched the Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) in March 2022 in response to the Russian invasion.
Between March 2022 and July 2023, Ukrainian citizens fleeing unrest could apply for a visitor visa and a temporary work permit at no cost.
IRCC figures show that as of September 30, 2023, 1,189,372 applications were received through CUAET, 909,464 applications were approved, and 185,753 Ukrainians had arrived in Canada.
Through the program, Ukrainians were exempted from many of the usual fees for temporary residents such as those for:
- temporary resident status extensions (visitor record)
- restoration of status
- study permits and extensions
- work permits and extensions (including open work permits)
- temporary resident permits
Further, until last June, the Government of Canada offered a one-time settlement support fee of $3,000
As of July 15, 2023, IRCC stopped accepting applications through CUAET, although it is still processing any 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 arrive under 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 a temporary resident (visitor) visa and they must wait until they arrive in Canada to apply for a work or study permit.