A few weeks ago I wrote about the plight of a young woman who found herself in quite a predicament after she gave birth overseas.
Seema Kanwal, who I can now identify, is a permanent resident of Canada. She recently returned to Pakistan to get married and spend some time with her new hubby.
When she discovered she was pregnant, she decided to return to Canada before the baby was born. However, her newborn son had plans of his own and arrived early … overseas.
Since Kanwal was not in Canada at the time she was sponsoring her new husband, the visa post in Islamabad asked her husband to prove his sponsor was living and working in Canada. Immediately, she made plans to return to Canada so the processing of her husband’s application could be resumed. She planned to return here with her son, who she was still nursing.
However, since she is not a Canadian citizen, her child has no inherent right to travel to Canada with her. Instead, he must be in possession of a visitor’s visa to enter Canada. Unfortunately, the visa post denied him a visa because the reviewing officer was not persuaded the child’s intention in entering Canada was temporary only.
This put Kanwal in a real jam since, if she didn’t return to Canada, her husband’s application would not be processed, and if she did, she would have to leave behind her newborn child.
There seemed to be no practical solution to her plight.
The very day after Kanwal’s story was published, I received a call from Karen Shadd-Evelyn, spokesperson for CIC’s communication branch in Ottawa, who wanted to offer the assistance of national headquarters.
I contacted Kanwal through her counsel and got her permission to share her identity with NHQ. Last week, I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from Kanwal confirming that Islamabad had restarted the processing of her husband’s application. At NHQ’s suggestion, I urged her counsel to immediately submit a sponsorship of her child, which has now been submitted and is being processed by the case processing centre in Mississauga. Passports have also been requested, suggesting it should be wrapped up fairly soon.
Kanwal’s e-mail to me was full of thanks and eternal blessings. It touched me deeply since I could tell her earlier despair was now replaced with hope.
I must say, I was also quite moved by Shadd-Evelyn’s unsolicited call to me. That phone call demonstrated initiative, efficiency, compassion and practicality … qualities that should always be hallmarks of Canada’s immigration program.
To Shadd-Evelyn, her boss Minister Diane Finley, and the visa post in Islamabad, I offer my thanks, and I am sure the thanks of a very grateful family.