With 230,000 Ukrainians having already emigrated to Canada to flee the war, a recently disclosed internal memo from the Immigration Department says there is “no limit” on the number of Ukrainian war refugees that can be allowed into Canada.
The government closed applications on July 15 for Ukrainian refugees looking to obtain temporary emergency visas and free flights to Canada, but about 1.1 million Ukrainians applied for visas prior to the deadline—of which about 800,000 had been approved as of the beginning of July.
“There is no limit,” said a Department of Immigration memo sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs and obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.
The memo, titled “Information On Ukrainian Nationals Coming To Canada,” also elaborated on Ottawa’s recently announced plan to facilitate permanent residence status for any Ukrainian nationals and their family members already in Canada.
The new policy, which Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced on July 15, is set to come into effect this October.
The new plan will provide permanent residence status to Ukrainian nationals who have fled the war and want to stay in Canada. To qualify, Ukrainian refugees must be in Canada with temporary resident status and have at least one family member in the country.
The memo said that the new policy will benefit Ukrainians coming into Canada “from anywhere in the world,” regardless of whether they were fleeing Russian aggression, so long as they applied for temporary visas through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program prior to July 15.
The plan fixed a quota of permitting entry to 365,000 Ukrainian immigrants in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.
“As this measure offers a temporary safe haven, those who come to Canada on Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel are not included in the Immigration Levels Plan, which is a projection of the number of permanent residents Canada plans to admit,” said the memo.
“Although a temporary measure, settlement services are available to Emergency Travel holders and their family members after they arrive so they can fully participate in Canadian communities while they are here.”
Canada’s temporary emergency visa program for Ukrainians was originally set to expire in March, but Mr. Fraser extended the program until July 15.
Only about 21 percent of Ukrainians who have been granted temporary visas have actually come to Canada, but they will have until the end of March 2024 to do so.
Refugees who obtained temporary visas and came to Canada will also have until the end of March 2024 to either apply to extend or change their temporary status in Canada.