Family’s success ‘more than rare,’ so why did it work?

Something very strange happened last week. Let me explain. It began last year when hundreds of undocumented construction workers, mostly from Portugal, were deported with their families from Canada.

The possibility of returning to Canada as permanent residents for many was poor since they did not possess the university education or proficiency in English or French, which our skilled worker category favours.

As for the possibility of returning on a temporary basis, i.e. to visit, work or study, my assessment would have been “virtually nil.”


The reason is that when a person arrives in Canada to visit but then remains in Canada beyond the expiry of his status and works without authorization, visa officers consistently refuse such applications concluding that the applicant cannot be trusted to comply with the terms and conditions of any future admission to Canada.

The applicant would have a nearly insurmountable burden to establish that he possesses that bedrock of immigration philosophy, a genuine “temporary intent.”

Last week many immigration lawyers were surprised when Antonio and Maria De Sousa, 37 and 36, returned to Canada from Portugal with their three children, reportedly under the authority of a temporary resident permit (“TRP”), after having been deported from Canada last year following their four-year unlawful stay in this country.

Roy Kellogg, the immigration consultant who helped the De Sousas with their application, agreed that this success was “more than rare” and, like me, couldn’t recall of a single case like it.

So, why was this case handled differently?

Kellogg states that his clients are “special” and that Mr. De Sousa’s company “went to the wall” for him. Perhaps.

But, to me, the De Sousa’s look like many others in similar circumstances but who failed.

I recall when Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first minister of immigration, Monte Solberg, declared in March 2006 that the regularization of undocumented workers was a “low priority” for the Conservatives.

I can’t help but wonder, or hope, if such a program has just, in fact, been tested if not discreetly launched.

It would look something like this:

  1. Catch them;

  2. Deport them;

  3. Have their employer issue a formal job offer;

  4. Ignore “temporary intent”;

  5. Issue a TRP; and

  6. Land them under the “Permit Holder Class” after the three or five-year waiting period. This way the Conservatives can slowly and quietly regularize many of our illegals without the fuss and muss of a formal amnesty.

If I am simply engaged in some wishful thinking, then the De Sousa’s return is like a two-headed cow — i.e. rare, interesting perhaps, but nothing more than a fluke, and certainly nothing that others can count on.

Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Ontario Law Society as an immigration specialist. Hear him live each Sunday morning at 11 on Toronto’s AM640. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at

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