New Zealand: Take Action and Welcome Ukrainian Refugees Fleeing the War

New Zealand: Take Action and Welcome Ukrainian Refugees Fleeing the War

March 9, 2022
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Signatures: 412Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Raya Marinova

As bombs reign over Ukraine, people in New Zealand, and beyond, wonder if their friends and family in Ukraine are still alive.

The Ukrainian people have endured a horrific assault by the Russian military. They have been bombarded and shelled, their homes destroyed, and their lives taken away. The Ukrainian people have suffered a tragedy that no nation deserves to suffer in this day and age. 

Reports and footage show that Russian forces are deliberately targeting residential areas and killing civilians. Apartment buildings, kindergartens, schools, and hospitals have been targeted by airstrikes. Entire streets have been destroyed. Some towns have had nearly all their buildings damaged or destroyed by the invasion. 

It has also been reported that the Russian forces have been cutting off water supplies, as well as gas and electricity, leaving people to freeze in subzero temperatures.  Russian soldiers have, reportedly, looted homes and businesses, taking money, jewellery, and other valuables. 

Despite promises of secure evacuation corridors, millions of civilians are still trapped and cannot leave. Many who have tried to leave have been shot at or killed.  Dead bodies lie in the streets. People are hiding in bomb shelters, desperate and afraid for their lives. They are running out of water, food, medicine, and other essential supplies.

While many civilian men and women from all walks of life have taken up arms to defend their country and freedom, many others desperately need to find refuge. 

Those lucky enough to have left already, have done so with just the clothes on their backs or with very few possessions. 

It is reported that two million people have found their way to safety outside the Ukrainian borders into neighbouring countries. 

Recognising the immediate need to protect Ukrainian refugees as this humanitarian crisis unfolds, many countries in Europe and beyond have welcomed Ukrainian refugees. 

The European Union recently voted unanimously to implement the Temporary Protection Directive (“TPD”) to provide Ukrainian refugees residency in the E.U. for two years, with a possible residency extension depending on the situation in Ukraine.  The TPD will also grant refugees work authorisation for the duration of their residency; access to the medical system, social welfare assistance and other government assistance programmes; and access to the local education system of the respective E.U. member states. 

Canada is also welcoming refugees.  On 3 March 2022, Canada announced that it will create a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel for Ukrainians seeking refuge from the war.  Canada announced that it will not limit the number of Ukrainians who can apply and that it will eliminate many of the usual visa requirements. Canada will allow Ukrainians to stay up to two years, with the eligibility to apply for open work permits. Canada further encourages Ukrainians to apply for visas through all programmes, promising that their applications will be prioritised.

The United States has announced that it will give Ukrainians who have arrived in the U.S. on or before 1 March 2020, a Temporary Protected Status.  This status will allow approximately 30,000 Ukrainians who are currently on temporary visas to live and work in the U.S. legally for the next 18 months. 

The Australian government has already approved at least 1,000 visas for Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war, albeit allowing the majority of these people to stay only as tourists for the next 12 months. 

The Ukrainian people are suffering an immense tragedy.  New Zealand, priding itself on being a humanitarian leader, should not now stand by and turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Ukrainian people.  It is imperative that New Zealand act with urgency and create programmes that will allow Ukrainian nationals fleeing the war to live and work in New Zealand for an appreciable period of time, similar to those in the E.U. and Canada, to ensure Ukrainians’ safety and, when the time comes, their safe return to their homeland.  At the very minimum, New Zealand should lift many of its normal visa requirements and allow the loved ones of Ukrainian-Kiwi residents and citizens to immediately join their family here. 

It is time to take action now and stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people by welcoming in New Zealand those fleeing the horrors of war.  

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Signatures: 412Next Goal: 500
Support now

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