Pushed from home in central Ukraine by Putin’s war, Julia Guk’s aunts and cousins finally arrived in Halifax over the weekend and into her family’s arms.
“Just actually seeing them live coming through those doors, it was really surreal,” said Guk.
“Of course the tears were there,” said her mother, Alina Guk.
And relief. For weeks the family waited for Canadian visas to be approved.
Now in Nova Scotia, Guk’s five family members no longer have to hop between hotels in Europe or fear being hit by an airstrike in Ukraine.
They’re quarantining at Guk’s house in Timberlea, NS, but are comfortable.
“I think they’re doing much better now that they do have a place that’s more long term and that they’re with family,” she said.
According to Ottawa, between March 17 and April 12, nearly 140,100 people from Ukraine applied for a temporary resident visas. Over 46,000 applications have been approved.
The Nova Scotia chapter of The Ukrainian Canadian Congress estimates between 6 and ten families have arrived in the province so far.
Oleksii Shatov left Halifax for Romania a month ago. He hopes to return with his parents, wife’s parents, his daughter, and granddaughter, but he has been waiting in Bucharest for documents to be processed.
“Should it be one month, two months? I don’t know really.” Shatov said.
It’s a wait the Guk’s are no longer having to go through. Their focus now is enrolling their family in school, English classes and signing up for cell phone plans.
“And getting health insurance,” Guk said.
“They have medical exams that they need to complete. And so just really getting through all those requirements and getting kind of started and life in Canada,” she said.