Ongoing Delays for Ukraine Immigration Applications: What You Need to Know?

The Government of Canada recently announced an extension to the processing standard for the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program, in response to the high volume of applications received.

Effective April 1, 2024, the processing time for CUAET applications has increased from 14 calendar days to 60 calendar days. This change applies to both new and in-process applications that have not yet received a final decision.

Additional Measures for Applicants

As of April 4, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has extended certain CUAET measures until July 31, 2024. These measures include:

  • Overseas applicants who faced delays and received approval after February 4, 2024, can apply for inland study and open work permits at no cost.
  • Settlement services will be accessible until March 31, 2025.

Applicants who obtained approval for a work permit or CUAET visa before February 4, 2024, can still enter Canada but will not be eligible to apply for work or study permits.

Background of the CUAET Program

The CUAET program was introduced in March 2022 to provide Ukrainians fleeing the war a fast-track option to come to Canada. The program has seen an overwhelming response, with tens of thousands of Ukrainians applying for this emergency travel authorization.

Government’s Commitment to Processing Applications

The Canadian government acknowledges the significant impact these delays have on applicants and their families. Efforts are underway to increase resources and capacity to process CUAET applications more swiftly.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to providing safe haven for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict,” the notice states. “We will continue to monitor the CUAET program and identify opportunities to improve processing times.”

In the meantime, applicants are advised to continue checking the status of their application online and to only contact the call center if their application has been pending for longer than the new 60-day processing standard.

What To Do?

It’s important for CUAET applicants to understand that this extended processing timeline is not a reflection on the strength of their application. The sheer volume of requests has simply overwhelmed the system, leading to these unavoidable delays.

For those waiting anxiously for a decision, the best thing to do is to remain patient and avoid repeatedly contacting the call center, as this can further strain the system. The government is working hard to expedite these applications as quickly as possible.

If your CUAET application has been pending for longer than 60 days, you may want to reach out to an experienced immigration consultant who can help you navigate the next steps. They may be able to identify any issues with your application or assist with following up appropriately.

It’s also worth noting that a permanent residence pathway is available for qualifying Ukrainian nationals with family in Canada, and regular immigration pathways like the Canadian Experience Class also remain open.

The CUAET program has been a critical lifeline for Ukrainians fleeing the war. Despite the frustrating delays, the government remains committed to supporting Ukrainians during this challenging time. Patience and perseverance will help applicants navigate through this process and start their new lives in Canada.

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