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Influx of Ukrainian Immigrants

The Influx of Ukrainian Immigrants to Canada in Early 2024

As the deadline of March 2024 approaches, a substantial influx of Ukrainian immigrants into Canada is expected. Tens of thousands seek refuge from the turmoil resulting from the Russian invasion, aiming to utilize temporary emergency visas provided by the Canadian government.

Extensive Visa Issuance and Current Arrivals

Since March 2022, Ottawa has granted 936,293 emergency visas for Ukrainians seeking work or study opportunities during the ongoing war. As of November 28, 210,178 individuals have successfully arrived in Canada. The anticipation is high, with over 90,000 emergency visa holders expressing their intent to enter the country before the looming deadline, according to pre-arrival surveys conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Operation Ukraine Safe Haven.

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Provincial Response and Challenges Faced

Joanne Lewandosky, a representative of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Manitoba Provincial Council, notes that more than 20,000 Ukrainians have been accepted by the province since the conflict’s onset. Acknowledging the traumatic circumstances, they flee, she emphasizes the necessity of integration efforts to make them feel at home in their newfound surroundings.

Operation Ukraine Safe Haven: A Coordinated Effort

The Operation Ukraine Safe Haven initiative serves as a national communication endeavor, facilitating coordination among stakeholders supporting Ukrainians arriving in Canada. With a focus on post-arrival planning, the initiative addresses housing, donations, volunteers, jobs, and other crucial orientation resources.

Proactive Measures by IRCC

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has proactively introduced new immigration streams for Ukrainians, both temporary and permanent. The Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) is among the pathways facilitating this migration.

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Challenges Despite Support Mechanisms

While community members, businesses, and various organizations contribute support, challenges persist for Ukrainian immigrants. The second anniversary of the Russian invasion brings a decline in public interest and weakened support, as noted by Sarosh Rizvi. Despite these efforts, finding suitable housing remains a challenge for many arriving families.

Pathfinder for Ukraine’s Perspective

Randall Baran-Chong, the founder of Pathfinder for Ukraine, emphasizes the resource-intensive and emotionally distressing nature of the decision to relocate across an ocean. Acknowledging that Canada may be the right choice for many, he stresses the significance of adaptability, family ties, language proficiency, willingness to work, and financial support for success in the new environment.

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Future Prospects for Ukrainian Immigrants

Those arriving after March 31, while still eligible to come to Canada, face limitations. They won’t qualify for the three-year work or study permit under the program and won’t receive financial or settlement support.

Canada’s proactive measures, coupled with community support, aim to provide a welcoming environment for Ukrainian immigrants. As the influx continues, ongoing efforts will be crucial to ensuring successful integration and support for those seeking refuge from the devastating impact of the Russian invasion.

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