Canadian immigration lawyer fights to extend client’s time in Canada
AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – A Filipina caregiver whose Canadian permanent residency application was denied on Wednesday can now stay in the country until April 22, following Canadian immigration’s admission that a mistake had been made.
Teresita Seradilla was granted a visa from Ottawa to work as a live-in caregiver for Val Cottreau in Airdrie, Alberta. On Wednesday, however, Seradilla received the distressing news that her application for Canadian permanent residency had been rejected over a technicality. As per Canadian immigration law, Seradilla was supposed to have left the country before applying for the caregiver visa. Yet Seradilla insisted that she had followed the rules as they were represented to her. Now Citizenship and Immigration Canada is acknowledging an error on their part.
The precise details of the error are as yet unclear but should emerge as the case progresses. Nonetheless, Seradilla’s Alberta employer vouches that she and her 40 year-old caregiver had been misled.
“It’s very confusing and a very convoluted system. There is a lot of confusion there and false hope for both of us,” Cottreau told the CBC.
Canadian immigration lawyer Shawn LeBlanc of First Immigration Law Firm corroborates that frequent errors plague the system, making it difficult for candidates pursuing Canadian permanent resident status.
“The applicant is not at fault if she followed the regulations. Caregivers aren’t the only ones trying to navigate a seemingly arbitrary system. Since Express Entry began, errors on the part of CIC have generally become more frequent”, says LeBlanc.
The bureaucratic blunder has high stakes for Seradilla and her family in the Philippines. Like many Philippine-born caregivers currently working and living in Canada, Seradilla supports her relatives back in her home country. In Seradilla’s case, her father depends on the money that she sends each month to cover his dialysis treatment.
“In a month my father will die,” Seradilla said after her application was denied.
For now, however, Seradilla may remain in Canada. Her lawyer has requested an extension and applied for legal and judicial reviews of her case.
Caregiver program reforms
The incident is the latest example of discontentment with Canadian immigration laws regarding caregivers, despite reforms meant to improve the immigration process. Canada’s caregiver program recently underwent a host of changes to help prevent exploitation. As of November 30, 2014, it became optional for caregivers to reside in the home of their employer. As well, caregivers temporarily employed in Canada may now apply for permanent residency under two categories: childcare providers and caregivers for the elderly or those with chronic medical needs.
Yet many caregivers from the Filipino community have protested that the reforms are not enough. Advocates hope to reduce the two-year period required before caregivers can apply for residency, or even allow caregivers to gain permanent resident status upon their arrival to Canada. Stay tuned for future coverage of Seradilla’s situation and read more about the recent caregiver reforms at CanadianImmigration.com.
If you are a foreign caregiver who seeks help navigating the Canadian immigration process, we recommend the expertise of a Canadian immigration lawyer. Contact First Immigration Law Firm toll-free in North America at 1-855-360-4333.