On March 30, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced that Canada was “offering temporary federal support to help Ukrainians settle in their new communities” through services extended settlement programs.
According to a government statement, Settlement Program services, “which are generally only available to permanent residents, will soon be extended until March 31, 2023, for eligible temporary residents in Canada under the Authorization Canada -Ukraine for Emergency Travel (CUAET)”.
“This is an extraordinary temporary measure to support Ukrainians arriving under this special accelerated temporary residency pathway,” the statement explained.
Services offered to Ukrainians when settling in Canada include:
- ” language training ;
- information and orientation on life in Canada, such as help registering children for school;
- information and services to facilitate access to the labor market, including mentoring, networking, counselling, skills development and training;
- activities that foster community ties;
- assessments of other needs Ukrainians may have and referrals to appropriate agencies;
- services targeted to the needs of women, seniors, youth and LGBTQ2+ people;
- other settlement supports available through the Settlement Program.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser
“We will continue to support Ukrainians fleeing Vladimir Putin’s war, before and after they arrive in Canada,” Fraser said in a statement.
“We know that coming to live in a new country, even temporarily, is not easy. As Russia continues its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we want to ensure that Ukrainians have access to the key support and services they need to settle into their new communities across Canada,” a- he added.
According to the government’s announcement, the Canadian Red Cross will “offer arrival services at Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver international airports” beginning in early April.
“This support includes providing translation services, as well as information in their language of choice to help connect Ukrainians to government and community services,” the statement said.
The federal government has also “created a governance table for cross-sector collaboration in Ukraine, which will bring together leaders from the settlement sector, provincial and territorial representatives, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Canadian Red Cross, federal partners and other stakeholders”.
“This board will facilitate communication and collaboration on the Ukrainian response and help sort out the logistics of cash donations and volunteers,” the statement added.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) “exempts certain low-risk individuals from providing biometrics on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the decision-maker.”
“Biometrics is currently a requirement prior to arrival in Canada for the majority of Ukrainian nationals. IRCC relies on biometrics for identity management and to ensure the integrity of Canada’s visa programs. The collection of biometric data is an essential part of the security screening process to protect the safety and security of Canadians and Ukrainian nationals when they arrive on Canadian soil. The relaxation of biometric requirements will ensure that Ukrainian nationals arrive in Canada as quickly and safely as possible,” the announcement explained.
According to the government statement, IRCC has “received over 80,000 CUAET applications”.
Speaking to the media on March 30, Fraser said “one of the things” he hears when he has “conversations with people who are actually on the ground is that there’s a lot of future applications”.
“Just to put it into perspective, we have somewhere in the stadium it will be a few days out of date data, but a few days ago we saw around 60,000 applications coming in through the new accelerated program that we have put in place, and only since we opened the program on March 17,” he said, noting that this is in addition to the “approximately 12,000 people” who have arrived in Canada “since the beginning of the ‘year.
The press asked the minister if he could “lift the biometric exemption to other categories. He noted that the reason “we insisted on biometrics is because we want to make sure, if we accept a potentially unlimited number of applications, that we have a security screening process.”
“We made the decision two days ago to remove biometric requirements for certain low-risk cohorts – so young people, older people, people who have a history of travel to Canada, where they have complied with the rules and have the appropriate documents. We take an evidence-based approach to make sure we don’t compromise safety outcomes, but we still have a process that will get as many people as possible here as quickly as possible,” he said. -he adds.
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