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Ukrainian Refugees in Canada | The reception process can be eased, believes an expert

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(Calgary) A new study recommends that Canada change its visa policy to speed up the entry of Ukrainian refugees, which has fallen sharply.

Posted at 11:49 am

Bill Graveland
Canadian Press

Canada has taken in a small number compared to other countries of the millions of Ukrainians who fled after Russia invaded the Eastern European country in February, according to a study released Thursday by the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

“Applications from Ukrainians far exceed the number allowed by the Canadian government, and we don’t even have a clear picture of how many Ukrainians are being welcomed into the country,” the author said. Study, Robert Falconer.

The statistics show that the “Canada-Ukraine Emergency Travel Authorization” program, intended to expedite visa and temporary residency for Ukrainians and their families, is not enough, he said. As of June 22, about 190,000 Ukrainians had pending applications to come to Canada, up from 140,000 a month earlier.

Professor Falconer believes that this visa-on-arrival program is responsible for Canada’s lagging behind other countries, including Ireland, which have waived the visa requirement.

“Before a Commons Committee, one of the objections [à l’assouplissement] “If we let the Ukrainians in, Russian spies will use them to infiltrate the system,” he said. Russian espionage exists, but the refugee channel is one of the least effective ways to try to infiltrate a Russian spy into the country. »

According to Mr. Falconer, federal agencies responsible for public safety and intelligence can better manage the security risks involved in the visa process with the right resources. He recommends that Ottawa adopt the Irish model or some other “on-arrival model” of conducting visa checks once people arrive in the country — something many countries already do, he said.

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“When you arrive at the airport, you have to wait for a while while government officials do security checks,” Falconer said.

“We’re doing a risk assessment, and we might already allow entry to this eight-year-old, who probably isn’t a Russian spy, while an unaccompanied mid-twenties […] Let’s catch him while we check his background and let him in.

“Get them here safely first, then deal with them from there,” he recommends.

According to Professor Falconer, a majority of Canadians support welcoming large numbers of Ukrainian refugees, with Canada having the highest percentage of Ukrainians outside of Ukraine and Russia.

The study he piloted shows Canada and the UK have similar processes for admitting Ukrainian refugees — and the numbers are comparable. Thus, in the first two months of the Russian occupation, 13 times more Ukrainian refugees arrived in Ireland per capita than in the UK.

Mr. Falconer indicated that his study’s conclusions would be passed on to the federal government, but there was no guarantee that it would ease requirements on immigration. “I think they know. I think they are very, very, very concerned – less about Ukrainians than about the immigration situation in general. »

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