Globe editorial: Three things Canada must do to help Ukraine, and Ukrainians [immigration section]

The Globe, long an advocate for increased immigration and supporter of the Century Initiative and Business Council of Canada and other advocates, becomes realistic in noting that large scale increases in Ukrainian temporary and permanent immigration should be within the current high levels, not additional to them:

Immigration: Unless by some miracle the war ends soon, a flood of refugees is coming. As of Thursday morning, the United Nations estimated that a million Ukrainians had left the country. The UN says as many as four million may leave – though if this war is anywhere near as destructive as in Chechnya or Syria, that is likely to be an underestimate.

In response, Canada must be generous and smart.

The Trudeau government said on Thursday that it will create a new visa category, allowing an unlimited number of Ukrainians to come to Canada to live, work or study for a period of up to two years. The government said it will also create an expedited immigration process for Ukrainians fleeing the country, and who have family in Canada.

Some have urged the government to simply drop the visa requirement and allow anyone from Ukraine to buy a plane ticket to Canada, no questions asked. That would be a mistake. The government says it worries about nefarious actors, including people who fought in pro-Russian militias, taking advantage of a zero-security approach. It’s right to worry.

Canada only allows visa-free travel for people from a limited number of countries where the risk of a vacationer choosing to overstay is low. But this program is not about Ukrainians holidaying in Canada – obviously not. It is about allowing people who are basically refugees to come to Canada for two years, after which, depending on the situation back home, many will surely apply to become refugee claimants or immigrants.

Canada always vets people before allowing them to relocate, temporarily or permanently, from overseas. There’s no reason to abandon that approach here.

In terms of immigration and refugee application made directly from Europe, Canada can and should welcome a large number of Ukrainians in the months to come. It’s a chance to make some lemonade, for Canada and Ukrainians, out of this lemon of a situation. However, given Canada’s housing crisis, and already high immigration levels, a big jump in immigrants from Ukraine should be counterbalanced by a temporary lowering of arrivals from other sources.

Canada should also do everything it can to entice the most educated and skilled Ukrainian exiles to choose our country. That would be good for us, and for them. More on all of this, next week.

Source: Globe editorial: Three things Canada must do to help Ukraine, and Ukrainians [immigration section]

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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