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I feel trapped in Canada by my work permit

I feel trapped in Canada by my work permit

This First Particular person article is written by Michel Eugui, who lives in Halifax. For extra details about CBC’s First Particular person tales, please see the FAQ.

I began planning my journey again to Uruguay practically 10 months earlier than my grandpa’s seventy fifth birthday. After two years of dwelling in Halifax on a piece allow, I used to be keen to return to Uruguay, eat asado and simply to cease considering in English on a regular basis. 

Don’t get me fallacious — there are various benefits of dwelling on this nation when in comparison with life in a growing nation in South America. Canada has been a welcoming place for my spouse and me. My spouse, Gianina, is finding out to turn into a meteorologist in Nova Scotia, and I work as a superintendent within the constructing the place we stay. I’ve made some mates and revel in strolling in Halifax on the weekends with my spouse’s hand in mine. However I additionally miss my abuelo and my mates, and the benefit of talking in Spanish. 

I used to be raised by my grandparents in Cardona, a small metropolis in southwestern Uruguay. I’m actually connected to Abuelo, and he’s the individual I miss probably the most again house. After my grandmother died in 2021, I might inform Abuelo was depressed each time we chatted on the cellphone. He additionally has some well being points, akin to poor imaginative and prescient and diabetes, and he lives by himself. We each have been very excited to satisfy once more and spend extra time collectively.

Eugui, left, together with his abuelo on a fishing journey in Palmar, Uruguay, in 2020. (Michel Eugui)

I additionally deliberate a tenting journey by the creek in Aigua with my mates. We haven’t had our annual tenting for the reason that summer season of 2019 because of the pandemic, and scheduling was extra difficult now that that they had kids. 

We acquired our renewed five-year permits in October 2022. Instantly after that, my spouse submitted the appliance for our customer visas as a household. In keeping with the federal government web site, Canada’s processing time for a customer visa software was 23 enterprise days. Good. That was greater than sufficient time earlier than my journey in March 2023. I excitedly instructed my grandpa that I’d be with him for his birthday. 

Nevertheless, after one month, solely my spouse acquired the letter asking for her passport to connect to the visa, whereas my customer visa software was nonetheless being processed. Each my spouse and I’ve tried getting a solution many occasions. We’ve waited a number of occasions for hours within the cellphone queue with out reaching a stay human being on the opposite finish. Emails solely come again with an automatic response that claims, “We’re experiencing a excessive quantity of requests, so our response could also be delayed.”

A smiling man and woman pose for a selfie at a harbourfront.
Eugui lives in Halifax together with his spouse, Gianina. They’ve work and research permits respectively for Canada. (Michel Eugui)

A number of months later, I now really feel trapped in Canada, held hostage by a piece allow that lets me make a dwelling right here, however prevents me from seeing my family members. I do know I’m not the one one with a legitimate non permanent residence allow ready for months for customer visa approval, questioning why the appliance isn’t being processed. I perceive the pandemic has delayed response occasions, and it’s essential to take care of emergencies, such because the refugees who’re making use of from Ukraine or Afghanistan. And I understand my circumstances aren’t extenuating. However nonetheless, it leaves me feeling that staff like myself are undervalued and underappreciated, at the same time as Canada faces a labour scarcity. 

Every month that passes is a wasted alternative to see my grandpa.

After Christmas and nonetheless no visa, I made a decision we needed to pull the plug on our journey. I instructed my mates I couldn’t make it to our tenting getaway. We have been all disenchanted. Nevertheless it was a lot more durable to inform my grandpa that I used to be not going to make it for his birthday. I used to be so upset to ship the information by cellphone, with out seeing Abuelo’s face, that not solely was I cancelling this journey, however in truth, I didn’t know once I would ever be capable to journey. He was sad and I felt like I used to be letting him down. 

After that, each time I converse with him, he asks me when I’ll come to see him. It’s so laborious to clarify to him that if I go away Canada — even after dwelling right here for greater than two years, after having a legitimate work allow, a job, and my spouse’s profession in Halifax — that I won’t be allowed to re-enter. I can’t clarify that to him, as a result of I don’t perceive it myself. 

I need to spend a while with him now earlier than it’s too late. I don’t need to fly again for his funeral. I need to be there with him and hug him. I don’t need to think about how I’d really feel if I can’t journey to go to him one final time — simply because my visa software is delayed. However I can’t inform him all that, identical to I can’t do something about my software. 

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