As of March 21, there were 24,949 war refugees from Ukraine registered in Lithuania, with nearly 11,000 minors among them, according to Lithuania’s statistics service. The Vilnius registration centre has so far registered the largest number of refugees, 8,725, followed by Alytus with 2,787, Klaipėda with 1,659, Kaunas with 1,593, Marijampolė with 1,279, and Šiauliai with 1,134. Of the total number of war refugees registered so far, 2,979 are children under the age of six.
Most of the incoming people have applied for temporary residence permits on humanitarian grounds. According to the United Nations, over 3.4 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, with a total of around 10 million people displaced from their homes.
In Canada, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced on March 17 that the federal government has created two new pathways for Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country to come to Canada — part of a plan to accept an “unlimited number” of people who want to leave. To start, Fraser said his department has created a new visa category that will allow a limitless number of Ukrainians to come to Canada to live, work or study here for up to two years.
People accepted under the Canada Ukraine Authorization For Emergency Travel program will have an open work or study permit and employers will be free to hire as many Ukrainians as they want. Fraser said the federal government is waiving most of the typical visa requirements but applicants will still need to supply biometrics and undergo a background screening process before leaving for Canada. The application process will open in two weeks’ time.
Fraser said the department is prepared for a possible influx of Ukrainians and there are biometric kits and personnel ready to assist would-be applicants at diplomatic posts in Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest and at 30 other locations throughout Europe. Canada is also waiving application fees for all Ukrainians who want to avail themselves of this program. The minister also announced the government is introducing an “expedited path” to permanent residency for Ukrainians with family in Canada. The minister said a “wider circle of family members” will be able to sponsor Ukrainians who want to come to Canada on a more permanent basis. Lrt.lt/ CBC.ca