Vyacheslav and Oksana Apostolyuk decided to move to Canada from Ukraine for many reasons. For one, the couple’s combined salaries were not enough to support their family of four. “It was a hard decision, especially because Oksana had a very good career at the university. But we didn’t see any future for us and our kids when we both had low salaries,” says Vyacheslav. “We could never plan to buy a house when our salaries were paying for rent and food.”
Political corruption in Ukraine also influenced their decision. The couple spent 15 years discussing immigration before starting their journey but kept holding off and hoping for things to change. “We had two revolutions because people wanted changes. We always hoped that corruption would be gone so we could start living like normal people in a normal country,” says Vyacheslav.
Vyacheslav’s move to Canada in July of 2021 meant he missed the devastation of the ongoing war in Ukraine, but Oksana and their daughter couldn’t leave until April 2022. The pair spent March with only two bags between them, travelling to Hungary and Poland for medical examinations and visa processing.
The fourth member of the Apostolyk family – Vyacheslav and Oksana’s son – was stuck in Ukraine until recently. “He was in Ukraine, but he couldn’t move abroad. All men from 18 to 60 couldn’t leave,” says Vyacheslav. After many struggles and an immense amount of paperwork, he’s finally out of Ukraine, and he could only access this paperwork because the rest of the family received permanent residencies (PRs) in Canada. He finally arrived in Canada in July thanks to the West Kootenay Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) and its regional coordinator, Erin Rooney.
Although their son hasn’t fought in the war, he volunteered on a territorial defense unit where he contributed his knowledge in computing and helped with fleeing refugees at a railway station.
Vyacheslav had sent resumes and emails to over 1,000 companies in Canada before finding work at Sutco Transportation and getting approved for his PR by the RNIP program.
“I wrote that I had good European experience, but no companies wanted to do the paperwork,” says Vyacheslav. “When I wrote cover letters to companies in the West Kootenay, I asked about immigration programs and was told about RNIP. But right after that, I was invited to work for a New Brunswick company that promised to help with provincial nominee paperwork after six months of employment.”
Shortly after Vyacheslav started work, the New Brunswick company’s structure changed, and it would only offer help with paperwork after a year or more. “I remembered RNIP from before and contacted Erin. The RNIP program works great and is very helpful.”
Now that he’s finally settled, Vyacheslav loves Nelson because it’s a quiet community surrounded by mountains. “We go around here and visit a lot of parks. For us, it’s a very nice place.” The family recently visited Kelowna and realized they’re grateful to live in a smaller city that feels less rushed and busy.
“Now I see a future where my son can come to Canada, and I am so happy. It’s my new home, and it’s a very beautiful place,” says Oksana, who has been rocking her English lessons. “Many people help us, and we have many friends. My daughter is very happy, and I missed my husband because I didn’t see him for one and a half years. I can see that when you have a good job here, you can have a future. I see a future for my children.”
Vyacheslav is an excellent example of an applicant who successfully made it through RNIP, a program that changes lives.