“There is no limit to the number of applications that we are going to be willing to accept.”
– The Hon. Sean Fraser, federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship,
announcing Canada’s plans to accept visa applicants from Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine has displaced over a million innocent civilians in the last week alone. Ukrainians are fleeing via land borders into Poland and Romania, seeking a new country to find refuge for the duration of the war.

As part of its response, the Canadian government has announced that an unlimited number of Ukrainian citizens will be granted 2-year Canadian visitor visas. These visas grant Ukrainians the ability to work and study in Canada. This measure circumvents the lengthy refugee sponsorship process and is geared towards bringing as many Ukrainians to Canada, as quickly as possible.

In support of this resettlement effort, the Government of Canada may wish to partner with organizations who can employ Ukrainian visa holders upon arrival. Canada has the second largest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, with 1.5 million people of Ukrainian origin who call Canada home. Canada may need to resettle tens of thousands of people – or more – fleeing the invasion for an indefinite period of time.

Unlike refugee sponsorship, where new arrivals are provided with income support for their first year in Canada, visa holders are not eligible for this assistance. As a result, Ukrainians who come to Canada will need jobs or study opportunities. We expect a significant number of these new arrivals will face language barriers in Canada. New arrivals will be disproportionately women, many with children, as Ukrainian men aged 18-60 are banned from leaving the country and urged to stay and fight.

Counsel Public Affairs is appealing to all our clients and community to consider your ability to employ or train Ukrainians fleeing war who will be resettling in Canada. The Government of Canada is looking to engage with employers who are interested in hiring Ukrainians who come to Canada under the new measures.

If your organization can help, please let us know. We would be happy to connect you with the corresponding government department to help accelerate Ukrainian resettlement efforts. Counsel will provide this service free of charge.

In times of global crisis, Canadians have always stepped in to help those in need. This is one small way we can help.

For more information, please contact our federal team: 

Sheamus Murphy
Partner (Federal Practice Lead)

Bridget Howe
Account Director, Federal Advocacy

Ben Parsons
Associate Vice President, Federal Advocacy

David Murray
Senior Consultant, Federal Advocacy and Polling