Immigration Updates and Options for Persons from Afghanistan and Ukraine *Note: Information current to July 15th, 2022.*
Immigration Updates and Options for Persons from Afghanistan and Ukraine
*Note: Information current to July 15th, 2022.*
Recently, the Government of Canada has announced many new immigration programs for people fleeing Afghanistan or Ukraine. Below are some key highlights, specific to each country.
Information about all the programs can be found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/immigration-citizenship.html
For more information, or if you have questions about options available for you, please contact our clinic at 416-441-1764 ext. 1
The Government of Canada has responded to the situation in Afghanistan in two main ways:
– (1) Introducing new programs only for Afghan Citizens, with the goal of welcoming 40,000 Refugees in the next few years, and
– (2) Introducing special changes and exemptions to existing Immigration programs, to make the processing of applications for Afghan Citizens faster and easier.
– A Permanent Residence Pathway for ‘Extended Family Members of Former Interpreters’
o The program is only available for family members of former interpreters who moved to Canada under the 2009 or 2012 resettlement programs.
– A humanitarian program to allow vulnerable Afghan Refugees outside their country to come to Canada through Government Assisted Resettlement or Private Sponsorship
– A special immigration program for Afghan Citizens who “closely assisted Canadian efforts in Afghanistan”
o [NOTE: Based on a statement from the Government, Canadian News Organizations have reported that the program is now closed for new applicants. The IRCC website has not yet been updated to show the program is closed.]
Special Changes and Exemptions
– Priority procesing for Family Sponsorship, Protected Person/Resettled Refugee Permanent Residence, and Temporary Residence Applications of Afghan Citizens.
– Fee and Travel Document Exemptions for certain applications made by Afghan Citizens.
Important things to keep in mind:
– The term ‘Family Member’ has a specific definition in the Immigration context.
o For most of the programs eligible family members that can be included, and come to Canada, are limited to spouse/partner, single children under the age of 22, and orphaned relatives under the age of 18. Generally, parents, siblings, and other family relations are not eligible to be included as part of these programs.
– The term ‘Refugee’ has a specific definition in the context of these programs.
o To be considered a refugee, the person needs to be outside of Afghanistan, and registered as a refugee with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or with the government of the country they are living in.
o For the Humanitarian Program: there is a list of people who are considered ‘vulnerable Afghan refugees’ – not every Afghan person outside of the country will be eligible.
For more information or to determine if you or a family member is may apply for any of the programs, please visit the IRCC website or contact our clinic intake number.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Government of
Canada has set-up new programs and options to help Ukrainian Citizens and their family members enter and stay in Canada as temporary residents.
For Ukrainian Citizens who are already in Canada with temporary status:
– Applications to renew work permits, study permits, or visitor status are being prioritized and people are being allowed to stay for up to 3-years at a time (or until their passport expires).
– Ukrainian Citizens with valid visitor status can now apply for an Open Work Permit.
– Processing fees for these types of applications do not need to be paid.
For Ukrainian Citizens outside Canada:
– Immigration applications made by Ukrainian Citizens or for Ukrainian family members of Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens are being prioritized.
– The CUAET Visa
o A special visitor visa for Ukrainian Citizens and their family members, which allows them to stay in Canada for up to 3 years (instead of the normal 6 months).
– Open Work Permit Eligibility with the CUAET
– Processing fees for temporary resident applications do not need to be paid.
Things to keep in mind:
– The Canadian Government is focusing on temporary options for Ukrainian Citizens who are coming to Canada, or are already in Canada.
o No special Permanent Residence programs or pathways have been created.
o Ukrainian Citizens are still able to apply for Permanent Residence under existing programs, but they must meet all the normal eligibility criteria for those programs.
– The term ‘Family Member’ has a specific definition in the Immigration Context.
o For most programs related to the war in Ukraine, family member is limited to Spouse/Partner, single child under the age of 22, and the child of a person’s single child (grandchild).
For more information and to determine if you or a family member may apply for any of the programs, please visit the IRCC website or contact our clinic intake number: 416-441-1764 ext. 1.