A family who lost their Canadian work permits because of coronavirus

I have no doubt the coronavirus pandemic will register as a historical event. As all my readers are aware, millions of people have lost their lives to this ominous virus. Of course, the loss of lives is not where this disaster ends.  Unfortunately, many families and businesses have fallen apart because of coronavirus. Here I want to share the story of a family who lost their Canadian work permits because of coronavirus.

How this family received their work permits

My client is a successful businesswoman. She had established a flourishing business in her home country. As a matter of fact, her business in her home country hires several people. However, she is from a country that is not exempt from a visa. Consequently, I applied for a work permit for her under a special option for job creators. Despite the high refusal rates for her nationality, my client received a work permit.

Upon visiting Canada, my client concluded she had made the right choice to expand her business in Canada. She now wanted her family to join her. Consequently, she asked me to assist her family in applying for their visas as well. I submitted an open work-permit application for her spouse and visit visas (TRVs) for her children.

Coronavirus delayed the second work permit and TRVs.

Unfortunately, coronavirus hit and stalled the application process for my client’s family. Eventually, the immigration authorities issued the spouse’s work permit and the children’s TRVs in October. However, due to travel restrictions, my client was the only family member who could travel back to Canada. Consequently, I advised her to travel independently and then later place a reunite request for her family members. She refused to accept my advice. In fact, they decided to purchase their tickets and go to the airport. Of course, they were going to give it a try and hope for the best. Unfortunately, the airline contacted Canadian immigration authorities and denied boarding the airplane to everyone but the main applicant. My client refused to leave her family behind. As a result, they returned home and contacted me for assistance.

Unexpected twists and turns in the matter

When I received the call from my client, I initiated the reunite application process. However, in less than two days, I received a strange email from the immigration authorities. According to the letter, an immigration officer believed my client and her family didn’t qualify for the work permits and TRVs anymore. The officer gave them thirty days to respond to their concerns. Of course, they did so, but they never received a response. My client and her family practically lost their Canadian status to coronavirus.

I had never encountered such a bizarre development in an application before. Unfortunately, the dreams of my client and her family are shattered. While I hope we eventually resolve this issue, I think sharing their story shows the Canadian work permit system’s twisted side.


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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.