April 22nd, 2024

Some Ukrainians in Quebec struggle with French requirement for immigration

By The Canadian Press on February 24, 2024.

The Samuel de Champlain Bridge is shown lit up in the colours of Ukraine in Montreal, Saturday, February 26, 2022, in a show of support from the government of Canada for the Ukrainian people and all Ukrainian Canadians. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – Some Ukrainians living in Quebec after fleeing the war with Russia are unsure if they’ll be able to meet the French requirement for permanent immigration to the province.

Many displaced Ukrainians came to Canada through a federal program that allows them to stay and work in the country for three years, and beneficiaries have until the end of March to apply to extend their temporary resident status.

But immigration lawyer Nataliya Dzera says that even with an extension it will be difficult for some members of the community to attain the French proficiency level often needed to immigrate through Quebec.

Dzera works with displaced Ukrainians, and says many came to Quebec with little or no French skills because they never expected to live in the province.

Among them is Inna Gonchukova, a mother of two who says she’s now considering permanent residence in Quebec, but worries she won’t have time to prepare for the French exam she would have to take to demonstrate proficiency.

Gonchukova says she may have to find another way to immigrate, such as employer sponsorship, or even return to Europe and apply for permanent residence through another program from outside Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2024.

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