Canada extends support program for Ukrainians fleeing Russian invasion

·1 min read
A rally in support of Ukraine in Winnipeg

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is extending a support program meant to help Ukrainians and their immediate families to become temporary residents of the North American country and easily apply for work or study permits, the Canadian immigration ministry said on Wednesday.

The Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel program, which was launched shortly after the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 last year, was set to expire next week.

Ukrainians and their family members of any nationality will now have until July 15 to apply for a visa under the program, the immigration ministry said in a statement. Anyone holding such a visa will have until March 31, 2024, to travel to Canada and those already in the country will also be able to extend or adjust their temporary status during that time.

Canada is committed to helping those fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine and "we continue working to provide Ukrainians with a temporary safe haven and the vital settlement services and supports they need," Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in the statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has been one of Ukraine's most vocal international supporters and provided Kyiv with over C$5 billion ($3.6 billion) in financial, military and other aid.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation" to combat what it describes as a security threat from Ukraine's ties to the West.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)