Windsor

This woman is helping those fleeing Ukraine consider their options in Windsor

A local immigration firm is offering services for free to people fleeing Ukraine to help them learn about their options in Canada.

Local firm offering services for free has received hundreds of inquiries

Amanjit Kaur is a Windsor-based immigration consultant who is offering her services for free to those stuck in Ukraine. (Submitted by Amanjit Kaur)

When Russian soldiers first pushed in to Ukraine, a woman in Windsor knew it was time to become more proactive.

"We wanted it to be more than just living room news for us," said Amanjit Kaur, an immigration consultant and founder of Earnest Immigration and Citizenship in Windsor.

Just a few days into the war, Kaur decided to offer her services for free to those stuck in Ukraine.

She posted on various social media platforms offering help for anyone looking to get more information on potentially escaping to Canada.

"We received almost close to 350 queries in the first 24 hours [of making the posts]. These were all people desperate for help, who needed a pathway to get out of the crisis situation and move to a safer place. Many had already moved to a safer place, but they didn't know how long they could stay in that zone. They wanted something more permanent to resettle and restart in life."

Since then, she has heard many horror stories — and has offered many hours of support for those who want to learn more about their options in Canada.

It's helped people like Mbaka Nobert learn about many Canadian cities like Windsor.

Norbert lived in Ukraine for four years as an international student before the war began. He was enrolled in computer science courses.

Mbaka Nobert lived for almost four years in Ukraine as an international student. He said when the war began, he fled to Hungary. (Submitted by Mbaka Nobert)

Now, he's fled with many others to Hungary, where he is temporarily living for now.

For him, going back to his home country Cameroon is not an option. Moving to Canada could also help him continue his post-secondary studies.

"Windsor is the best for me. From what I've learned, it's probably the best university there for computer sciences courses."

Others like Chenai Matowe are feeling worried about moving to Canada as a refugee.

"If doctors, internationally trained medical graduates can easily assimilate themselves into the system — but I realized it is quite tricky. Because first choice is always for those who studied in Canada. That's been a concern. If I come, what does it entail for me? How soon can I get a placement at a hospital?"

Matowe lived over eight years as a medical student in Ukraine and also fled to Hungary when the war began.

Kaur said Matowe is not alone — she said many others trying to flee the Ukrainian war have similar concerns.

Chenai Matowe is a medical student who lived in Ukraine for more than eight years. She said she fled to Hungary after the war began. (Submitted by Chenai Matowe)

To help, Kaur said her team has begun to put together a list of employers willing to hire refugees.

"We are compiling a list of employers and settlement services that can be helpful for these people as and when they arrive. We will have the crisis list to show [refugees] that once you are here, you won't be alone," she said.

"We have at least over 40 employers, and these are across skills. So we're not just looking at managerial skills. We're looking at lower skilled jobs, which don't require a degree or professional accreditation, to move forward. They're all pledging jobs. The list is growing."

The federal government has already waived some restrictions, allowing for an unlimited number of people fleeing Ukraine to obtain a temporary emergency visa.

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