December 8, 2023

Immigration Marriage

Feel Good With Immigration

Non-Ukrainian relatives customers in limbo awaiting expedited visas

Hundreds of people seeking refuge in Canada from the war in Ukraine say a processing discrepancy at Canada’s immigration office is breaking up homes for months or preserving them caught abroad in precarious dwelling circumstances.

Denis Kokhno says he, his spouse and teenage daughter utilized with each other for their visas beneath the the Canada-Ukraine authorization for unexpected emergency vacation method (CUAET) on June 1, 2022.

9 months later, Kokhno and his relatives are dwelling in their fourth refugee camp considering the fact that fleeing to Germany, ready for the final of their visas to fly to Canada. They received two out of three so considerably.

“I am nonetheless waiting around. And we are a person family,” stated Kokhno, by way of an interpreter, from a shelter for asylum seekers in Hamburg. Kokhno is a Russian national who states his spouse and children fled Russia in September for the reason that his Ukrainian wife’s basic safety was at possibility.

“We are not sensation snug here.”

The relatives is one particular of hundreds who’ve banded alongside one another on Telegram and reached out to CBC News as a group. They have used for their unexpected emergency visas and are left in limbo because their young children or non-Ukrainian partner are nonetheless waiting for their apps to transfer by means of Canada’s immigration technique, which is laden with delays and other bureaucratic problems. 

Three people stand in a museum in front of a painting.
From appropriate to left, Denis Kokhno, Maryna Derevianko and their daughter. The household is living in a refugee shelter in Hamburg, Germany, as they wait for Kokhno’s CUAET visa to get acceptance, nine months soon after his spouse and children used. Kokhno is a Russian nationwide. (Submitted by Denis Kokhno)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced CUAET previous March, promising a free and quick passage to Canada for Ukrainians affected by Russia’s complete-scale invasion of Ukraine a yr ago.

The program features households prolonged non permanent status, allowing for them to function and study right until it is risk-free to return dwelling.

Ukrainian nationals and their household associates — like a husband or wife, widespread-legislation associate or youngsters —  are eligible to use. 

“The normal processing time for CUAET apps is 14 days, but advanced instances might have to have a extended turnaround time,” an IRCC spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.

According to IRCC’s information, much more than 300,000 CUAET applications were being even now waiting around for acceptance as of mid-February.

Scratching heads at illogical processing

But applicants like Kokhno say IRCC’s failure to approach visas for homes with each other is illogical, tearing people aside, or leaving them scrambling to survive economically.

Some of the longest wait around moments amongst these family members have stretched to a lot more than 10 months as of Monday.

The team despatched a letter to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser more than a thirty day period in the past and been given an automated reaction. Candidates stated they come to feel dismissed by the minister, whose office environment did not comment for this story.

Look at | What existence is like residing at a refugee shelter: 

Family members describes ‘horrific’ situations inside refugee shelter

As they await their visas underneath the the Canada-Ukraine authorization for crisis journey software (CUAET), Denis Kokhno and Maryna Derevianko are keeping at a shelter in Hamburg, Germany.

Kokhno explained his family members has to share a room with 12 folks, there is a lack of correct air flow and fireplace security issues, fights keep on to break out, and pigeons enter residing quarters and poop on clothing and foods. The pair problems for their daughter who’s at present unable to go to school.

“For me, the toughest [part] is to continue to be human and to like every single other,” said Kokhno.

Photos of tents, portable washrooms and metal bunk beds in a warehouse.
Kokhno shared some pics of what his momentary property seems like. From still left to ideal, a image of tents, bunk beds and moveable washrooms at a refugee shelter. His family has moved from 1 shelter to a further since the finish of October, after fleeing to Germany. (Submitted by Denis Kokhno)

“For me, the hardest is the fear of rejection,” claimed Maryna Derevianko, Kokhno’s spouse, in Ukrainian. “If they, Canada, does not issue the visa for my husband, then … we will have to remain in this shelter for a pretty prolonged time.”

Revenue functioning out for LGBTQ few

Illia Shykotko and Nikita Denisenko are temporarily remaining in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, as they await the acceptance of Denisenko’s CUAET application.

The couple — who also lived in Russia when the whole-scale invasion happened — described publishing extra documents to prove their typical-regulation marriage, as exact same-sexual intercourse marriage is not lawfully acknowledged in Russia or Ukraine. 

“The entire system is very weird. Why we are applying as a loved ones and then the officers are just splitting us up?” questioned Denisenko, a Russian national, as a result of an interpreter.

“It is totally silence. There is no respond to,” he added. “We’re just hanging in the air. We’re paying all our savings.”

Two people sitting in front of a window.
Shykotko and Denisenko are prevalent-legislation partners waiting around for a person of their visas to get approved due to the fact November. They are at the moment dwelling in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. (Submitted by Illia Shykotko)

Shykotko says he’s not inclined to leave his husband or wife powering to travel to Canada very first, as that’ll build much more money burdens for the two.

“We are not separating for the reason that we really don’t know how extensive we will have to hold out,” Shykotko said.

Wife waits for spouse in Quebec

Olena Kazma got her visa very last August, but her Lebanese partner is continue to waiting.

Kazma joined her grownup small children in Canada in November, wondering her husband will be in a position to fly above shortly from Lebanon. The household was in the approach of finalizing their move to Kharkiv, Ukraine, when the war escalated past calendar year.

Months into the wait, Kazma spoke of her devastation of getting divided from her lover of 32 yrs.

“I’m finding upset definitely, truly seriously,” she shared from Quebec, by means of an interpreter. “We have never ever at any time been separated throughout our relationship.”

A man walks by a building with a sign.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office environment in Montreal. According to IRCC’s information, additional than 300,000 CUAET apps were nonetheless ready for approval as of mid-February. (Ivanoh Demers/CBC)

Kazma fears the chance of a hold off of an additional few months, and what that may do to her spouse who’s struggling, dwelling by yourself amid an unprecedented economic disaster.

“I will not be equipped to go away my husband for longer,” she reported. “I will for certain go back to Lebanon.”

IRCC doesn’t address discrepancy

IRCC declined CBC’s ask for for an job interview. 

Instead, in an electronic mail, department spokesperson Michelle Carbert reiterated CUAET “is the speediest and most productive way for Ukrainians and their households to occur to Canada,” yet did not instantly address why there are months-very long gaps in processing users of the exact same home.

Carbert said all purposes are assessed on a situation-by-case foundation.

CBC requested Minister Fraser’s place of work to remark on these troubles, and did not obtain a response by deadline.

This is the joint letter, signed by hundreds of households, and despatched to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in January. CBC has redacted the names and software figures to protect applicants’ privacy.