Canada’s immigration minister will “quickly” have an replace on the way forward for an emergency visa program for Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s conflict as calls develop for the federal government to announce an extension.
The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Journey program (CUAET), which expedites visas and short-term residency permits for Ukrainians and their households, is about to run out March 31.
The shortage of a agency dedication that this system will proceed past that date is creating uncertainty and even panic amongst Ukrainians who’re nonetheless trying to come to Canada, advocates say.
“We’ve seen a rise in numbers (of Ukrainians) arriving, significantly in Toronto, as Ukrainians get very nervous about the potential of this program ending,” stated Ihor Michalchyshyn, government director and CEO of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which has been lobbying the federal government to increase this system.
“We haven’t had anyone within the authorities inform us that it’s ending, however we haven’t had anyone within the authorities inform us that it’s being prolonged.”
Since January 2022, 177,958 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada, together with CUAET candidates and returning Canadian everlasting residents. At the least 590,000 functions by way of the CUAET program have been authorized out of 900,000 which were obtained.
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On Wednesday, Conservative MPs together with shadow immigration minister Tom Kmiec wrote to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser calling for an extension to be introduced “immediately,” reminding him that the conflict is much from over.
The letter, a duplicate of which was shared with World Information, additionally identified Jap European nations reminiscent of Poland have accepted much more folks fleeing the conflict resulting from their proximity to Ukraine, and that Western nations like Canada have an obligation to assist ease the pressure on these nations.
“We can not merely abandon Ukrainian civilians fleeing the conflict and we will and should proceed to assist our allies within the area who’ve taken on a better burden resulting from their geographical proximity in serving to conflict refugees,” the letter says.
“We urge you to not go away Ukrainians in the dead of night relating to your plans with this program.”
In response to the letter, a spokesperson for Fraser’s workplace on Thursday hinted at an imminent announcement relating to the CUAET program, however didn’t present specifics.
“Minister Fraser stays engaged with stakeholders, Members of Parliament and neighborhood members, and appears ahead to offering an replace on this quickly,” Bahoz Dara Aziz stated in an electronic mail.
Of their letter, the Conservative MPs spotlight the big discrepancy between the variety of CUAET functions obtained and what number of Ukrainians have truly arrived in Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has beforehand advised World Information among the authorized candidates who haven’t arrived in Canada have chosen to remain nearer to house as a substitute, and will have forgotten to withdraw their functions.
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Michalchyshyn doesn’t dispute the reason, however notes that as a result of Canada has not offered constitution flights from Ukraine because the early months of the conflict, candidates are pressured to fund their very own journeys to Canada.
He additionally pointed to delays in biometric screening that may decelerate entry instances, a problem that has plagued other emergency refugee programs just like the one designed to evacuate folks out of Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.
Till an extension is introduced, Michalchyshyn stated the UCC and different advocates will proceed to use strain on the Canadian authorities to behave.
“So long as the conflict continues, we all know the necessity continues,” he stated. “It’s clear that the variety of folks in want isn’t going to vary on March 31 or April 1.”
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