Sponsoring Refugee Ukrainians

  1. The Displaced Persons Act sunset in 1852 it only applied to people who were in U.S. controlled areas of Europe between 1939 in 1945.
  2. Russians need visas to enter France but not Ukrainian refugees.
  3. Finland is a signatory to the 1951 and Protocol I refugees bleary Russians can file for asylum there.
  4. People seeking refugee status from abroad have to register with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  5. While the United States used to have a private sector refugee sponsorship program (1986), that ship sailed many years ago. Canada has something similar today and the U.K. is in the process of crafting emergency legislation to allow for the same. No such legislation is being contemplated in the U.S. at this time.
  6. If you wish to help, the following is a list of organizations you can donate to. There are also organizations that work with the U.S. government through the Refugee Resettlement Act to aid recent refugees to get them a “leg up” once they arrive in America.
  7. The Lutheran immigrant resources center is a big player in this area.
  8. The international Caritas confederation is collecting funds to help Caritas Ukraine. In the United States, that is through Catholic Relief Services. Internationally, you can donate through Caritas Internationalis.
  9. The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia also has a link to donate.
  10. Two pontifical agencies also are taking donations for Ukraine: Catholic Near East Welfare Association and Aid to the Church in Need. Internationally, Aid to the Church can be reached here.
  11. The Knights of Columbus launched the Ukraine Solidarity Fund for humanitarian needs in Ukraine and through refugee sites in Poland.
  12. Donations can also be made to Jesuit Refugee Service to support the agency’s work with those forced to flee conflict in Europe.
  13. The Salesians also are accepting donations to help refugees.
  • For sponsorship opportunities I recommend reaching out to Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services (LIRS), Michigan Refugee Assistance Program (MRAP) sponsored by Jewish Family Services, Refugee Center in Michigan (Samaritas). Michigan Department of Health and Social Services (MDHSS), International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) or the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) administered by UNHCR. Those are the only options available as of today.
  • It is reported that while many of the two million people who have already fled Ukraine may choose to stay in Europe, a subset hopes to join family members in the United States. Those seeking a U.S. visa will likely face long wait times and limited appointment availability, as foreign citizens have struggled for months to snag consular appointments amid processing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With embassies shuttered in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, pressure on other consular posts in the region will only increase.
  • The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET for short) program and related measures to assist Ukrainians have gone live:

see https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2022/03/canada-ukraine-authorization-for-emergency-travel.html,  https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/ukraine-measures/cuaet.html, https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/ukraine-measures/ukraine-open-work-permit.html, and https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/ukraine-measures/study.html.

Canada will be offering a temporary stay of 3 years with a possibility of a future extension, work authorization if desired, and a study permit if desired (on arrival for people under 18; people over 18 will need to apply for a study permit from within Canada after they arrive but will have their application prioritized and won’t need to pay the processing fee).

The program applies to Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members as defined under Canadian immigration law, which is slightly different from immediate relatives as defined under U.S. law. Spouses and dependent children are included, as one might expect, but so are common-law partners and the dependent child of a dependent child; parents, on the other hand, are not included.