Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Bay Area Groups, Federal Government Helping Out Ukrainians During Russian Invasion

NBC Universal, Inc.

There are an estimated 20,000 Ukrainians in the Bay Area.

For the Ukrainians who are in the U.S. on a visa, the federal government made a move to help them stay longer if needed.

On Thursday, the Biden administration added some protections for Ukrainians in the U.S., adding Ukraine to the list for temporary protected status or TPS.

It means those living here on a visa before Monday can stay in the U.S. for 18 months without the fear of deportation.

Valeriia Karnaukhova is a visiting scholar at San Jose State University. She is from Ukraine and came just a month ago to SJSU to study migration.

“It is peaceful, nice, amazing country but now they are destroying whole cities. Big cities,” she said.

As tens of thousands now flee her country, Karnaukhova constantly worries for her grandparents, cousins and best friends still there.

“They are actually seeing everything that is happening there. They are sleeping in the bomb shelters and we are speaking everyday. Everyday I am sending the message in the morning and in the evening, ‘Are you okay?'” she added.

Sandy Schneider, a business development director in the East Bay, has had previous experience helping and organizing during the Bosnian refugee crisis.

Schneider created a LinkedIn group for Ukrainians, who can’t return home to help them find jobs whether it’s in the Bay Area or abroad.

“I just want to give them the opportunity to go look for work and help set up a platform that makes it easier for them. It gives them hope and dignity and obviously stability going forward,” said Schneider.

As for Karnaukhova, she's on campus proudly wearing her new shirt, with the colors of her school that match the ones on her country’s flag.

“The world should help Ukraine to stop Russian invasion and war in my country,” she said.

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