Saskatchewan. rural municipalities pushing for work permits for Ukrainians to be accelerated

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As the war in Ukraine rages on, nearly 1,200 Ukrainians have left their homes and livelihoods to settle in Saskatchewan.

However, some of them find it difficult to join the job market and start their new life due to government requirements.

In a statement to Global News from the federal government, a spokesperson said the Canada-Ukraine Emergency Travel Authorization (CUAET) “provides Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality the opportunity to stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to three years.”

“Ukrainians are eligible for an open work permit or a free study permit, which allows them to accept employment with almost any Canadian employer or enroll in an education program in Canada,” said Isabelle Dubois of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

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The statement indicates that under the CUAET program, the requirement for Ukrainian applicants to complete a immigration medical examination (IME) before coming to Canada is waived, if applicable.

“Instead, they may be required to take a medical diagnostic test within 90 days of arriving in Canada if they lived in Ukraine or another country with an incidence of serious communicable diseases (for example, tuberculosis) is higher for 6 consecutive months in the last year before their arrival; or, in certain circumstances, if they applied for an open work permit,” Dubois said.

The test “must be completed before they can work in a profession that could bring them into close contact with vulnerable people, such as child care, primary or secondary education, health services or agriculture”.

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is now pushing for change to help add workers more quickly and efficiently specifically to the agricultural sector.

“If we can somehow expedite the process for Ukrainian immigrants coming to Saskatchewan, that would be really helpful,” said SARM President Ray Orb.

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According Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Danylo Puderak, medical tests are not readily available in Saskatchewan.

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“There are two doctors licensed as medical doctors who can administer this program for IRCC,” Puderak said, adding that the inconvenience delays the work permit process for months.

“First, the displaced Ukrainian must make an appointment with a licensed doctor. Especially in rural Saskatchewan, it’s a burden because they have to travel for hours because only Saskatoon, Regina, Battlefords or Prince Albert have reputable doctors to do these medicals,” Puderak said.

Puderak said the UCC agrees 100% with what SARM is saying and trying to do for Ukrainians, and would like to see the federal government do something about the situation.

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Owner of Food safety first Russell Scott offers free food safety courses to Ukrainians to help them get to work.

From his point of view, the program only complicates the lives of people who have already faced enough difficulties.

“Hopefully that can be sorted out very quickly so they can’t have that as an additional hurdle, that they can get over that very quickly and I think that’s a goal for everyone here,” he said. said Scott.

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Provincial Immigration Minister Jeremy Harrison will discuss the issue with his provincial and federal counterparts in the coming days during a trip to Saint John, New Brunswick, in hopes of making the push more impactful.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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