British Tourist Detained by Canadian immigration after being accused of working illegally
Protests that he was “treated like a criminal”
EDMONTON, ALBERTA June 2015 – A British citizen visiting his Canadian girlfriend is being deported after Canadian immigration authorities charged that he violated his visa by working illegally during his stay. He is now inadmissible to Canada.
Tom Rolfe, a 24 year-old traveler from Abergavenny, Wales, was locked up by Canadian border officials after they found photos of him helping his girlfriend Sam Edwards mend the cracks on her apartment wall.
Rolfe was visiting Canada on a tourist visa when the pictures were taken. Canadian immigration construed the images as evidence of him being illegally employed during his trip. Rolfe flatly denies these charges.
“They looked through the photographs on my camera and saw pictures of me helping Sam fill cracks in her walls where pictures had been hanging. They said that by doing that I was denying a Canadian person a job.”
He was then told that he had eight days to leave the country.
“It is just ridiculous,” Rolfe told the media. “I was just helping Sam to tidy up her flat before she sold it so we could get a place together.”
Even though the minor repairs that Rolfe performed were unpaid, immigration rules forbid foreign nationals with tourist visas from doing any work that could be done by a Canadian employee.
Applied for resident permit
Rolfe met the 27 year-old Edwards two years ago in Indonesia, where he was traveling after his father’s death from a brain tumour. The couple made plans to live together in Edwards’s hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. Rolfe applied for a resident permit but had to leave Canada and then return for his application to be processed through immigration control.
He and Edwards made the 300-mile drive south to Montana and then headed back to Canada, where the two were hoping to start a dog rescue centre in Edmonton. Upon reaching the border, however, they were subjected to a three-hour ordeal by Canadian immigration officials who confined the two in separate rooms while searching their vehicle and luggage.
“I was treated like a criminal and told I have eight days to get out of the country—it has wrecked our plans,” Rolfe explained.
Done with Canada
After Edwards contacted her local MP in Alberta, she was informed that her boyfriend had no choice but to leave Canada for 28 months before being allowed to return to the country.
Rolfe is returning to the UK, where Edwards intends to join him with their two dogs in a few months.
“I’m done with Canada now,” Rolfe has stated. “I thought they were part of the Commonwealth so I’m surprised to be treated like this.” He has expressed further frustration at being forced to change his plans with Edwards on account of his helping her with a few minor household repairs.
Rolfe now intends to settle in Bristol, England, where he is currently seeking a new residence for him and Edwards.
A spokesperson from Canadian Border Services Agency has declined to comment on the case.
“We do not provide any specific information on any traveler’s entry or status in Canada due to Canadian privacy laws.”
As Rolfe’s case demonstrates, the Canadian immigration rules for tourist visa-holders can be strict, and border authorities can be persistent in searching for evidence to turn visitors away from the country. A seemingly minor technicality can have serious consequences.
If you are a foreign national visiting Canada or hoping to apply for residency, you may wish to consult the services of a Canadian immigration lawyer. The assistance of a qualified legal professional can strengthen your application and safeguard your admissibility to the country.
Contact First Immigration Law Firm, to speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer.