The conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure. Since the Ukraine-Russia military crisis escalated two months ago, over 5.2 million Ukrainians have left their homeland as they seek safety and protection in neighboring countries and abroad.
With no visible end in sight to the military operation, the United States government has announced a new, first-of-its-kind humanitarian parole program called “Uniting for Ukraine (U4U).” Beginning on April 25, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will administer a new sponsorship-based, streamlined process that allows Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge to arrive and temporarily remain in the United States from abroad. In remarks following a meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister, President Joseph Biden stated that the new program complements current legal steps, which include immigrant visas and refugee processing. During his trip to Europe last month, the president pledged the United States would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians escaping from the violence in their home country due to Russian aggression. This new plan, he said, fulfills his prior commitment and ensures the Ukrainian people “need not go through our southern border.”
To be eligible, Ukrainian applicants must have been in their home country as of February 11, 2022. In addition, they must: have a US-based sponsor, meet certain public health requirements, complete biometric screening and pass security vetting.
DHS will accept and review applications to sponsor Ukrainian citizens from any US-based individual or organization, without any requirement of preexisting links to the Ukrainian nationals. To participate in the program, sponsors must commit to providing financial support and pass a security background check as a means to prevent trafficking and exploitation.
Ukrainians approved for humanitarian parole under the Uniting for Ukraine program will be eligible for work authorization. Thus, the new program will provide an option for clients seeking to assist employees and their family members. In addition, organizations seeking to grow their talent pool may simultaneously assist and benefit from the program by providing Ukrainians with both sponsorship and employment in the United States.
Mayer Brown is closely following the Ukraine-Russia crisis for clients, their employees, and their families. We will continue to monitor and advise on these and other issues related to the conflict. Please follow updates on our dedicated Ukraine Crisis Spotlight page and blog The Mobile Workforce.